New Delhi [India], Jan.4 (ANI
): With less than three weeks to go for the Hockey India
League (HIL), Junior Indian team skipper Harjeet Singh has urged his compatriots to put up a good show in the league if they want to find themselves in the senior core probable list for the senior men's camp scheduled to commence at the SAI Centre Bengaluru in March.
"When Coach Roelant (Oltmans) joined our camp ahead of the Junior World Cup, he had a meeting with the team where he said that while the Junior World Cup performance will be a stepping stone for many of us as it's only the start of our career, how we play in the Coal India HIL against some of the top names in world hockey will be crucial in terms of our selection for the senior men's camp," recalls 20-year-old Harjeet Singh
, who successfully led the team to the Junior World title in December 2016.
Singh further revealed that post the World Cup win, Oltmans had asked the players not to relax but to stay on the top of their game for the HIL.
"After the celebration party post the final match, Coach met with the entire team for 10 minutes (which is a regular ritual we follow) and told us that we have created history by winning the title but our careers don't end with this. Our aim should be to make the cut for the senior squad and how we perform in the HIL will be closely monitored by the national selectors," says Singh who plays for Delhi Waveriders.
Harjeet, who was part of the senior team that won the historic silver medal at the FIH Champions Trophy in London last year, insisted that the entire junior team put up a great show at the World Cup. He further hoped that the implementation of a development squad will ensure this talent is not wasted.
"While I personally feel every player in the junior squad is worthy of a spot in the senior men's camp, I know it's virtually not possible for everyone to make the cut as the senior team is already a well-balanced unit. Hence, I feel that having a development squad will be great in terms of ensuring the hard work put in by the junior team and the coaching staff in making us world champions doesn't go for a waste," insisted the junior skipper.
Though the juniors will be under pressure to perform in the HIL, Singh believes that his teammates have enough experience to not let this affect their game.
"Initially we would feel the pressure of playing with or against stalwart players but after three editions, that feeling has subsided. Thanks to the constant meetings, often one-on-one, with HIL
team Coaches who urge us to play our natural game and not worry about the mistakes we make or let the fact that we are playing against big names in hockey affect our game. I personally used to feel this pressure but my Coaches in Delhi Waveriders Cedric D'Souza and Baljeet Singh Saini helped me overcome this fear," says Singh who will reach his hometown of Kurali on January 7 for the first time after winning the Junior World Cup.
Apart from Harjeet, Delhi Waveriders also features Santa Singh, Parvinder Singh, Mandeep Singh from the Junior World Cup
The league is slated to be held from January 21 in Mumbai. (ANI