Young forward Abhishek, who had a memorable outing in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games, said the focus of the Indian hockey team is to stay in the best shape and form in the run-up to next year’s World Cup.
“We all are really eager to return to training and prepare ourselves for the upcoming competitions,” Abhishek, who scored two goals in six games in Birmingham, said in a Hockey India (HI) release.
“We all want to improve as a team, and with the World Cup next year, everyone wants to be in the best shape and form in the coming months.” The 22-year-old featured in all six games at the CWG, helping India bag a silver medal, after going down to Australia in the summit clash.
“It was quite a memorable experience for me to perform on such a big stage. I learned a lot about my game during the tournament, and understood areas where I can improve upon,” Abhishek said.
“We performed as a team throughout the competition, despite facing tough opponents. Every match had a new challenge for us, and we were able to face it head-on. Even though the final against Australia did not go our way, we learned a lot from the match and have to improve upon in training.” Abhishek made his debut for India against South Africa at the FIH Pro League earlier this year and played 14 games and performed consistently, based on which he was picked for the CWG squad.
And, the Haryana forward praised and thanked current coach Graham Reid for his advices and suggestions.
“Our Chief Coach Graham Reid had already told me before in training sessions to enjoy the games and to not take too much pressure. This advice really helped me at Commonwealth Games 2022 as I was able to focus on my natural game and was able to play freely,” Abhishek said.
“My teammates and coaches told me I performed well considering it was my first major tournament of such scale. There are still a few areas where I have to improve upon, and the Commonwealth Games 2022 experience has motivated me to work even harder to fulfill those shortcomings.” The team will return to the National Coaching Camp in Bengaluru on August 29 and will begin preparation for the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League season which is scheduled to begin in October.
India are scheduled to play New Zealand and Spain at home.
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