In July 2009,when Baljit Singh Dadwal was hit by a golf ball on his right eye during a national camp at Pune,he was seen as the best goal keeper in the country. At the ongoing World Series Hockey,where he is turning out for the Bhopal Badshahs after a long period of recovery and rehabilitation,the Chandigarh player,out of national reckoning after the freak accident,is proving a point.
Three years later,his right eye is left with just 30 per cent of vision,and yet Baljit happens to be the goalkeeper of a team that has conceded the least number of goals in the tournament so far. Given that the other teams boast of top custodians such as Adrian DSouza,Devesh Chauhan,Kamaldeep Singh it is quite an achievement.
Despite a 3-1 loss to Delhi Wizards on Thursday,Bhopal,joint leader with 13 points,continues to have the most compact defence. And Baljit is being credited for the long periods of shut outs.
To be honest,I neither know nor care what is next for me. I have been playing domestic hockey for almost two years now,and done decently well. What I do know is that here in WSH,I am up against some really good foreign players also. There are the likes of Shakeel Abbasi,Rehan Butt,Imran Warsi and Lehn Aiyappa,who are all world class. And I have been able to hold my own against them. That is a satisfying feeling, said Baljit.
On Thursday,he saved at least four clear shots at goal. I feel good that I am able to contribute to the teams cause. Whether it is for my employers or here,there is a satisfaction that I can still make a difference to the team and that is my biggest reward. But those who are in authority can make their own decisions,I dont need to shout about my performance, he said.
Bhopal coach Vasudevan Baskaran,who captained India to their last Olympic gold in 1980,said Baljit didnt need any certificates. He is good,but that everyone knows. He has proved it again here in WSH. All I can say is that I am glad to have him, he said.
Delhis improved show
As for the match,it was a much-improved Delhi team in action and it showed,as the hosts took lead in the 4th minute through Victo Singh. Shakeel Abbasi (11th) and Vickram Kanth (69th) added to the tally while Casey Henwood (22nd) brought up the lone goal for Bhopal. The win,however,did not change Delhis penultimate position on the points table,with 10 points from 8 games.
In the days other game,Chennai Cheetahs upset Rune Strykers 3-1. Adam Sinclair,Vikas Sharma and Imran Warsi scored for Chennai while Roshan Minz scored for Pune.