Perth: The Indian men’s hockey team might be out of the title race of the Lanco International Super Series 9s after losing to Australia here on Saturday, but custodian P R Sreejesh wants to sign off on a high by winning Sunday’s bronze medal play-off against arch-rivals Pakistan. (Agencies)
India slumped to the bottom of the points table after losing 1-4 to hosts Australia in their last league match of the four-nation tournament.
“A medal will be a befitting finale for us, as we have worked hard towards that end,” says the Indian goalkeeper, who has been remarkably consistent against Pakistan.
Sreejesh, who seemed to have learnt the art of blocking Pakistan forwards in the increasingly frequent one-off 25-yard penalty strokes, said he geared up to take on their traditional rivals.
“I am always confident in my job, and the energy with which we as a team play against Pakistan boosts my morale in abundance,” he said.
Sreejesh turned out to be the hero for India at the the Asian Champions Trophy final at Ordos, China recently when he stopped Pakistan forwards twice in the one-on-one tie-break ordeal.
Similarly, he outsmarted the most experienced of the Pakistan players, Waseem Ahmad, in his attempt to convert a 25-yard penalty stroke here on Friday.
“My constant approach towards Pakistan, which worked well so far, is not to commit early, wait, and allow them to make mistakes,” he outlines.
The Indian team also leans on Sreejesh’s form and it was well evident on Saturday as he was played full match by coach Michael Nobbs.
“I am really happy today, I got full match. It boosts my confidence level, and I will muster that extra bit to go all out tomorrow. I am charged up,” the lanky goalie said excitedly.
He feels he is at peace to take on Asian teams, who normally play defensive hockey, while European and Oceania sides prefer attacking hockey all the time.
“Asians depend on counter attack while Europeans and Oceania teams rely on attacks for goals. We played European style when (Jose) Brasa was there, and now reverting to our own style,” he said.
“Tomorrow is a different day. I will give my best as I want to play a role for my team to end the exciting Hockey 9s with a medal,” Sreejesh signed off.
Perth: The Indian men’s hockey team might be out of the title race of the Lanco International Super Series 9s after losing to Australia here on Saturday, but custodian P R Sreejesh wants to sign off on a high by winning Sunday’s bronze medal play-off against arch-rivals Pakistan.