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Juniors need to earn their place in the squad: Sreejesh

Indian Senior Men’s Team Captain feels this 6-week camp will be a big learning for the 11Ajuniors inducted into the core probables.

Bengaluru, 21st March 2017: The Senior Men’s Hockey team is going through a transitionalAphase and with emphasis given to juniors this new Olympic cycle, the task is cut out for theAseniors.

While they have an added responsibility of mentoring the youngsters, they will alsoAneed to push equally hard to keep their place in the squad.

PR Sreejesh, Captain of theASenior Men’s Hockey Team says, “It’s a fresh beginning and with so many youngstersAcoming into the core probables, the juniors as well as seniors will really have to push for aAspot in the national team. The juniors will need to get better and better in their skill andAexecution, adapt well in the camp and prove themselves that they are worthy of that positionAand are ready to replace a senior player. As for a senior player, he needs to match theAfitness and speed the juniors bring to the table. While we know that juniors will be the futureAas we prepare for 2020 Tokyo Olympics, they shouldn’t take it for granted that they willAmake it to the squad. They need to earn it.”

Though the Junior Squad, who won the Junior Men World Cup last year, had a fabulousAouting in 2016 and also played to their potential in the 2017 Coal India Hockey IndiaALeague, Sreejesh feels the level of game will be entirely different in the Senior team.

“TheseAsix weeks will be good exposure for them in terms of understanding the system we follow,Alearn how we strategize, plan and execute. Though they have seen us train closely as theAjunior team and we were based in the same campus almost through the year in 2016, IAbelieve being in the system is very different from watching us train,” stated the IndianAgoalkeeper.

Sreejesh also feels that this is a great opportunity for youngsters to learn as much fromAstalwarts like Sardar Singh, SV Sunil in the team. “Senior players like Sardar and SunilAshowcase great work ethics and there’s a lot the juniors can learn from them. As seniors weAalso have an added responsibility of mentoring the juniors and making sure they stay onAtrack towards achieving the goals the team has set,” he added.

Speaking about the new support staff, Sreejesh said that getting two former India playersAinto the fold is a great motivating factor for the team. “Arjun (Halappa) was an attackingAcenter forward and midfielder while Jugraj Singh was a very good defender and dragflickAexpert.

They understand the passion, they understand the culture of the team and it’s greatAadvantage to have them as support staff. I have worked with Hans Streeder (AnalyticalACoach) earlier in Coal India HIL and he is a good strategist. He was also there at the JuniorAWorld Cup as part of the Dutch team and he has watched most of our players very closelyAand understands where they need improvement,” he said.

The Indian team selection trials will be held in the following weeks to pick the final squad forAthe Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia starting “I feel that will be aAgreat tournament to see where the juniors stand in terms of temperament andAperformance,” Sreejesh concluded.

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