India’s senior most player Sardar Singh believes that Indian hockey is on the right track. India begin their Hockey World League (HWL) semifinal campaign against Scotland on Thursday.
In an interview to NDTV, Sardar said that HIL has given the Indian players exposure under best foreign coaches. “HIL has seen overseas players playing with Indian players. Players from Argentina, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, are playing in the league. Our players are getting a chance to interact with them and learn the tactics of the sport. The league also has best foreign coaches who are training our players. Indian hockey is on a right track,” Sardar added.
Claiming that India is a strong core group, and that they are ready for the HWL tournament, he said,”Sultan Azlan Shah was the major preparation for this tournament. We have worked on several areas and improved on that as well. We had a training camp. Coach (Roelant) Oltmans has discussed the plans with us and we will execute them well.
The 30-year-old player, who has no plans of retiring anytime soon, said, “Retirement is not in my mind. My fitness is good and I am playing good hockey. Why should I retire? I want to play as long as possible for my country.”
Sardar said that although he is the senior most player in the team, he does not feel like a senior. “Honestly, I never felt that I am a senior. Yes, juniors come to me for advices and tips, but I treat them like as team-mates not juniors. I also make errors during training sessions but I make sure I don’t repeat it again. For me, everyone is senior on the field,” Sardar said.
He hoped that PR Sreejesh, who is out due to injury, recovers quickly and returns back to action. “Yes, definitely. He (Sreejesh) is a senior and experienced player. We will be missing an experienced hand. I hope he recover soon and come back to the action,” said Sardar.