Thimmaiah raring to go

Thimmaiah raring to go

Back from injury, striker all set for Azlan Shah

Thimmaiah raring to go

He spent close to five months on the sidelines owing to a shoulder injury, missing a number of events including the year-ending Hockey World League Finals and the Hockey India League.

But now, after undergoing a successful surgery to his right shoulder and spending enough time on his rehabilitation, striker Nikkin Thimmaiah is back. The 25-year-old Karnataka player will be once again be seen in India colours at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, that gets underway in Malaysia from April 6.

In a team that came under immense criticism last season for failing to convert goal scoring opportunities, Thimmaiah could be the breath of fresh air that the Sardar Singh-led side is looking for. But ask the St Joseph’s Commerce College graduate who relies on his pace and positioning skills, he would give you a different version.

“Criticisms are part and parcel of the game. If you do well, people praise you, if not they critics. That’s how it is,” he begins.

“But as a player, we don’t focus on that. Our job is to practice, polish our skills and ensure that we put up a good show when on the field. And it won’t be any different this time too,” he said.

Returning from a major injury can be a tedious task. It could take a long while before the player could even think of picking up his stick again. But for the nippy forward, who said it was a much easier task given his past with injuries. “It was hard initially.

You feel difficult to get out, pick up your stick and do the basics right. But I think I managed well. More so because I have being through injuries before so I knew the path I need to take to get back into the side.”

Being an Olympic year, Thimmaiah knows the importance of the season. “Definitely. Our performance at the Azlan Shah Cup will matter a lot. This being the Olympic year and Azlan Shah being the season opening tournament, we will want to get our season off to a good start and then build on it as we approach the Rio Games,” he opined.

India has rested a handful of their key players and head into the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with a fairly new side. Though the side will be lacking on the experience front, Thimmaiah said it was an opportunity for the travelling bunch to stake their claim before the all-important Olympic squad is announced.

“This being the Olympic year we need to try out all the possible combinations. So I think Azlan Shah, where you have a number of good teams playing, will provide us a good opportunity to try and test the players before the Olympic squad is announced,” he clarified.

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