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FIH Hockey World Cup 2023: Hopefully, we can finish on top, Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh

All set to play in his fourth FIH males’s hockey World Cup and the third on residence soil, veteran India goalkeeper P R Sreejesh feels his workforce can do higher than the quarterfinal exit within the final version, and even end on prime of the rostrum this time.

The showpiece begins right here on Friday.

India topped their pool after profitable two matches and drawing one, however misplaced to eventual runners-up Netherlands 2-1 within the quarterfinals of the 2018 version, which was performed at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, one of many two venues this time.

“It’s a nice honour for me to play my fourth World Cup for our nation and the particular half is, that is my third World Cup on residence soil. I don’t suppose any participant has had this privilege of enjoying three World Cups at residence,” Sreejesh mentioned forward of India’s first Pool D match on Friday towards Spain.

“In 2018, we couldn’t go into semis. Now, we’ve yet another alternative to alter our fortunes at this mega occasion. Hopefully we will enhance our earlier efficiency and end on prime,” he mentioned.

India has not completed on the rostrum in 48 years since profitable the gold in 1975 version in Kuala Lumpur underneath the captaincy of Ajit Pal Singh.

The 34-year-old skilled goalkeeper, the second most capped Indian participant within the workforce after Manpreet Singh, mentioned outcomes matter greater than the variety of instances a participant turns up for a marquee occasion just like the World Cup.

“I’ve all the time felt it’s not about what number of instances you might have performed a event however whether or not you might have gained it or not is what issues essentially the most. This time too, it’s necessary for me to offer my 100 per cent and get the specified outcome from the event,” mentioned Sreejesh, who performed a significant position in India’s historic bronze-winning feat within the Tokyo Olympics.

Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh Raveendran tries to cease an try at aim as Pakistani gamers Rehan Butt and Mohammad Zubair look on throughout their World Cup 2010 match.
| Photograph Credit score: MANAN VATSYAYANA

Sreejesh, who was named the FIH Goalkeeper of the 12 months, remembered his first outing on the World Cup when the top coach requested him to pad as much as guard India’s put up towards nemesis Pakistan. This was throughout the New Delhi version in 2010.

“My first match within the World Cup was towards Pakistan. I nonetheless bear in mind, throughout the workforce assembly, our coach mentioned that Pakistan will come totally ready for goalkeeper Adrian (D’Souza) so he determined to place me within the match towards them.

“When he requested me to pad up, the sensation of getting an opportunity was merely unimaginable,” recalled Sreejesh, feeling nostalgic.

“To play my first World Cup match in entrance of a packed residence floor towards Pakistan felt like a dream. I can nonetheless really feel the ambiance, how the stadium was, how folks reacted and the way we gained that match. That was the very best second for me as a teen.” He additionally recalled India’s outing within the following World Cup occasions.

“Each World Cup is particular for a participant however I distinctly bear in mind the 2014 World Cup in Hague. We completed ninth sadly however we fought rather well in that event. Personally, for me, I assumed that was an excellent efficiency.”

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