As the younger brother of recent hockey international Yuvraj Walmiki,Devinder always had to match up to the reputation the elder sibling had established. Understandably,the breakfast-talk at the Walmiki household involved Yuvraj and Devinder discussing pre-match tactics while nights usually end in prolonged post-match assessments,all through their growing years.
However,after Hockey India barred the 48 Olympics probables from taking part in World Series Hockey,Devinder went ahead and joined the league while Yuvraj stayed away. Ever the concerned elder brother,Yuvraj tries to boost his confidence and reassure him that he will do well,says Devinder.
He (Yuvraj) watches my game from home, Devinder says sitting at the concrete stand of the BHA where he has virtually grown up. It is the best platform for a player like me,who is trying to showcase his talent. Once you are shown on TV everybody can judge your game, he says.
Making his own path
Life has changed for the struggling Walmiki family ever since Yuvraj made it to the national side. Now Devinder says its his turn to make it big and hopefully represent the country. He has been the Mumbai Marines sprint-machine in the past two games,with his incisive runs up front and whenever hes gotten hold of possession,Devinder has made sure he dominates the opponents. It is clear that he wants to blaze his own path,and is not content to be known as Yuvrajs brother.
Its obvious that when you have a player like Yuvraj at home,people will refer to you as his brother. But for me what is important is to make my own name. Let me be Devinder first,then Yuvrajs brother, he says.
Sutherlands crucial strike
On Friday though,Tony Sutherland stole most of the limelight for his solitary strike which helped Mumbai Marines beat Bhopal Badshah,it was Devinders show that caught the eye. With the win,Mumbai opened their account in World Series Hockey but Devinder,adjudjed the man of the match said it was still early days. What will be important is how we play our coming matches. We have a good unit with good players. It will be very important to set the tone and keep doing well, said the boy with the long locks.
Delhi off to a winning start
Delhi Wizards defeated Karnataka Lions 3-2. Wizards scored a goal each in the first three quarters through Vikramjeet Singh (2nd minute),Pakistani forward Shakeel Abbasi (19th) and captain Rajpal Singh (51st). The Lions tried to force a comeback and scored two goals through Jarnail Singh (36th) and Ravipal Singh (48th).
Mumbai win 1-0
Mumbai Marines held on to a tense 1-0 win over Bhopal Bhadshahs. Mumbai overcame first quarter hiccups,upped the game in the second quarter and found the lead in the 25th minute through Troy Sutherland. However,Mumbai’s defence survived late onslaught to win their first game.
Tomorrows fixtures: Sher-e-Punjab vs Karnataka Lions in Jalandhar (5pm); Chandigarh Comets vs Chennai Cheetahs in Chandigarh (7pm); Delhi Wizards vs Pune Strykers in Delhi (9pm).