Putting his weight behind newly appointed India chief coach Sjoerd Marijne, veteran goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh has asserted that the Dutchman will enjoy a successful stint with the national hockey team.
“With a new coach in place now, this team will take a new direction. While moving up the ranks and maintaining consistency remains constant, I am sure that, along with me, all the players in the camp are looking forward to continuing the hard work and aim for better results with chief coach Marijne,” Sreejesh was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Sreejesh, who has been out of action for more than four months with a knee injury that saw him miss the World League Semi-Final in London, is on the comeback trail and has joined his teammates at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre here to continue his rehabilitation process.
The 29-year-old has been an important figure for the Indian team in recent years, leading them to the silver medal at last year’s Champions Trophy in London.
But earlier this year in April 2017, when the team started their season at the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia, the goalkeeper from Kerala suffered a ligament injury during the first quarter of the match against defending Champions Australia while diving to reach a diagonal ball by an opponent striker inside the Indian circle.
That saw Sreejesh hobble off the pitch and he has been recovering from that injury since then.
However, the goalkeeper campaigner seemed to be in good spirits as he made his return to the ongoing national camp on Wednesday.
“It feels good to be back at the national camp and starting some light training with my teammates. When you are with your team, you get the right motivation to work hard every day and get back to the field quickly as you want to contribute to the team,” Sreejesh said.
Sreejesh has been helping the younger players in the side by sharing his expertise with them in training, something that will benefit the likes of young goalkeeping duo Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera in the upcoming Asia Cup.
“I think it’s important for me to share my experience with the younger players and give them feedback on their performance,” Sreejesh said.
“That also helps me in improving my game as I can also learn from them too and when I come back on the field, I will know where I need to make improvements.
“When you are in the team, you need to take the responsibility and not worry about how you are going to perform as an individual. When you are playing in the team, you need to give your 100 per cent and focus on team-play so that the team can perform well as a unit,” he added.