Sreejesh wants to be India's 'perfect man'

Sreejesh wants to be India's 'perfect man'

Hockey World League Finals : Goalkeeper gears up for a tough tournament

Sreejesh wants to be India's 'perfect man'

 He has been India’s go-to man in the goal for a while now. Making sure that his side’s lead stays intact with some sublime saves in the past, PR Sreejesh will once again be expected to be on top of his game when India begins their campaign at the World Hockey League Finals on Friday.

“I believe a goalkeeper should be a perfect man on the pitch. Because one mistake by him and you concede, and that’s something I try to be. A perfect man,” said the Indian vice-captain as his side geared up for a tough two weeks of hockey here.

“I have been with this side for some time and I can tell you that we have come a long way. And with the Olympics still a few months away, we will be a better side before we land in Rio,” he added.

The Raipur event being the last one for the season, the 27-year-old said that a tournament of this magnitude was the best one could have hoped for before heading into the all-important Olympic year.

“It’s the year-ending tournament and also one of the toughest we will be playing this season, given that the top eight teams are here. I think that’s a great way to end your season. A good show here can help going into the Olympic year,” he added.

“The month-long camp in Bengaluru after the New Zealand tour was centered on this tournament. And moreover, we are looking at gaining enough experience ahead of the Olympics. If we dream of winning a medal there, we will have to be among the best here. Our performance here will also tell us where we stand looking forward to the Rio Games,” said the goalkeeper.

Though India’s growth as a team was hampered by injuries to two of its key players, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Lalit Upadhyay, Sreejesh said the national side had enough ammunition in its reserves to take on the big names. “It is disappointing when you lose a vital member of your side. But that’s how this game is.

“However, the good thing about this is that we are a 25-member squad preparing for the Rio Games. So if one person is out injured, we always have a replacement. We don’t want the injury to affect our preparations. Earlier we had Nikkin and Lalit, but now we have Talwinder (Singh) and Amir (Khan) who are equally good,” opined Sreejesh.

One of India’s biggest drawbacks in the recent times has been its inability to see out a game. And this was evident when they played Australia in the ‘test’ series last week.        
“Yes, that’s a concern. That’s an area we are really working on. It is disappointing to lose a game after leading 2-0 in the final moments,” said Sreejesh.