Walmiki looks to make most of second chance

Yuvraj Walmiki's return to the national team ahead of the Hockey World League Semi Final in Antwerp, Belgium marks yet another beginning in his career that has witnessed its share of highs and lows.

The striker had impressed coach Paul van Ass, with his performance during the just concluded four match Test series against Japan which India won 3-0.

"I was out for a year after sustaining injury. It gets difficult to make a comeback, even a six month gap makes it difficult for you to make a comeback, but hopefully now under coach Paul van Ass if I get opportunities, I will perform," said Walmiki.

The Mumbaikar had a productive season for Delhi Waveriders in Hockey India League (HIL) this season and admitted that it helped him to regain his confidence.

"The HIL has had a lot of influence on my career, playing with the best players in the country. I have been part of the Delhi Waveriders team and all the three seasons we had a podium finish. Playing in HIL and domestic tournaments I have got good experience,” he said.

Walmiki believes playing in the domestic tournaments, among HIL, allowed him to sharpen his skills and improve the fitness levels. "I scored crucial goals in this year's edition," he beamed.

Commenting on van Ass, he said that the Dutchman’s only criterion is performance. “It is like more of giving your 100 per cent, a mixture of excitement and pressure when you go out on the field, so that’s the thing, to continue in the team you have to perform and you will be there in the team under this coach.”

India has already qualified for the Rio Olympics and have got nearly a year to fine tune their strategies. But Walmiki felt that every tournament from here would be crucial to their preparation, beginning from World Hockey League.

"Our team’s target is to finish on the podium and in the World Hockey League we are going to face best teams in the world so it is going to help us in a very good way. When you get on the winning momentum it helps you in future tournaments and Hockey World League finals are in India so getting a good result in Belgium is important," he said.

“Personally, I want to avail every opportunity that comes my way and focus on contributing to the team's success.”
DH News Service

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