Mon, Feb 20, 2017 | updated 02:31 AM IST

Aim is to stay mentally and physically fit till Hockey WC: Sardar Singh

Updated: Jan 13, 2017 16:13 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan.13 (ANI): The 45-day long break for the Indian senior men's hockey team after their tour of Australia in November last year has done a world of good for Sardar Singh, who is perhaps India's most prolific midfielders and senior most players in the Indian squad.

"I think this has been the longest break we have got in a while. After a hectic year, with the 2016 Rio Olympics, this break was personally very good for me as it helped me relax my mind, spend some time with family and also work on my fitness," stated the former India captain.

Sardar showed exemplary performance at the 2016 Asian Men's Hockey Champions Trophy in October when he set up the 55th minute goal against South Korea in the semifinals that earned India 2-2 parity after they had trailed 1-2.

His wizardry enthralled hockey lovers world over and also invited praise from chief coach Roelant Oltmans who singled out the star midfielder's performance in ensuring India's remarkable comeback. India eventually won the coveted title beating Pakistan 3-2 in the final.

"This break has helped me introspect on my game and how I want to shape my career going forward. Presently, my first aim is to make the probable list for the national camp in March," asserted Sardar, who will join his team Jaypee Punjab Warriors camp on January 14.

The 31-year-old will lead the Jaypee Punjab Warriors campaign in defending the title at this year's Hockey India League (HIL).

"This year's Coal India HIL will be crucial for me as I can assess where I stand and what I need to do to improve my game further. I am inspired by players like Jamie Dawyer of Australia who stayed on top of his game till he was 35-36. So, I don't think age is a concern. My target is to stay fit physically and mentally till the 2018 Men's World Cup in India. I want to be on top of my game at the Coal India HIL and ensure a good start to the year," he stated.

Speaking of his team's chances of defending the title in front of home crowd, as the HIL finals will be played in Chandigarh, Sardar said their chances are bright but would like to take one-match-at-a-time.

"On paper I think we have the best team and haven't subjected to many chances like other teams. We are the same team, including the coaching staff, from last year so we understand each other better. But it's important to start the tournament with a win and carry on the momentum. I think the week-long camp before our first match will help the team come together as one unit," said the Padma Shri awardee.

Sardar Singh further emphasized that the Junior Men's team's performance at the recently held Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men Lucknow 2016, is the result of good governance and professional approach to the game in India.

"I think the introduction of Coal India Hockey India League and the professional approach in running the system, the kind of money being invested in the sport has done a lot of good to hockey in India. This approach also motivates players and in the past two years, the junior team has done exceptionally well and going forward they will showcase the winning mentally. When you know that you are No.1 in the world, you enter the field feeling like a champion and that mentality will make a big difference," he added.

Jaypee Punjab Warriors will begin their title defence with the first match played against Dabang Mumbai on 27 January in Mumbai.

The HIL is slated to be held January 21.(ANI)

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Feb.19 (ANI): On Monday (February 20), attention will shift to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Bengaluru, Karnataka, where the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction of cricket players from around the world will take place.

Full Story >>

Melbourne [Australia], Feb.19 (ANI): Sri Lanka on Sunday took an unbeatable two nil lead against Australia in a three-match Twenty20 international series through a two wicket win in Geelong.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb.19 (ANI): Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, on Sunday, flagged off the seventh edition of 21 Gun Salute Vintage Car Rally, country's most premium vintage car event, in New Delhi.

Full Story >>

Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], Feb.19 (ANI): Thousands of people participated in a half-marathon in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur on Sunday with an aim of promoting adventure sports and tourism across the state.

Full Story >>

South Africa beat New Zealand in Hamilton ODI

Updated: Feb 19, 2017 17:28 IST

Hamilton [New Zealand], Feb.19 (ANI): South Africa on Sunday beat New Zealand by four wickets in a one day international match played here.

Full Story >>

Pune (Maharashtra) [India], Feb.19 (ANI): Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) has announced that Australian cricket captain Steve Smith will take over as skipper of the team from Mahaendra Singh Dhoni for the 2017 and 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 19 (ANI): India's Twenty20 left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra has said that he would like to represent the country again in one-day internationals and is training his sights on the Champions Trophy to be played in England in June this year.

Full Story >>

Melbourne [Australia], Feb.19 (ANI): Having lost their first Twenty20 clash against Sri Lankaat the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) , Australia will now look to redeem itself against the visitors in the second Twenty20 international clash at Kardinia Park in Geelong on Sunday evening.

Full Story >>

Melbourne [Australia], Feb.19 (ANI): The Supreme Court in Victoria, Australia, has ordered both Cricket Australia and former Test leg-spinner Stuart MacGill to commence mediation over the latter's 2.6 million Australian dollar injury case.

Full Story >>

Mumbai [India], Feb.19 (ANI): Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other administrators of the sport to undertake a review of the current concussion-related substitution rule.

Full Story >>

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Feb.19 (ANI): On Monday (February 20), attention will shift to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Bengaluru, Karnataka, where the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction of cricket players from around the world will take place.

Full Story >>

Wenger wants to continue at Arsenal till 2021

Updated: Feb 19, 2017 09:26 IST

London [United Kingdom], Feb.19 (ANI): Manager Arsene Wenger's two-decade long relationship with English Premier League football club Arsenal may be stretched and strained owing to the lack of silver fare, but this has not stopped him from expressin

Full Story >>

Lahore [Pakistan], Feb. 19 (ANI): Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who is currently playing for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), has stated that he is still mulling over coming to Pakistan if the final match of the Twenty20 series will be played in Lahore.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb.18 (ANI): Following the footsteps of Indian boxing sensation Vijender Singh, Olympic Quarterfinalists Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar are all set to make their profession debut.

Full Story >>

Dubai [UAE], Feb.18 (ANI): Pakistan and Sri Lanka look all set to make it to the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 as they take on India and Bangladesh respectively, in their last round of Super Six matches at the qualifying event on Sunday.

Full Story >>

Karachi [Pakistan], Feb.18 (ANI): Describing Misbah-ul-Haq as a `great leader`, Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has said that the beleaguered Test skipper will be given all the respect and a rousing see-off whenever he decides to bid adieu to cricket.

Full Story >>

Melbourne [Australia], Feb.18 (ANI): Australian paceman Pat Cummins has called on his teammate Billy Stanlake to put his poor Twenty20 international debut behind and back his pace in the remaining two games of the three-match series against Sri Lanka.

Full Story >>

Karachi [Pakistan], Feb.18 (ANI): Islamabad United cricketers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif have formally recorded their statements on the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot-fixing scam before the anti-corruption unit of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Full Story >>

By Vangamla Salle K S

Full Story >>

Doha [Qatar], Feb.18 (ANI): Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and her partner Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic suffered a major blow as they crashed out of the ongoing Qatar Open after going down in the semi-finals of the tournament here last evening.

Full Story >>