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Asian Games 2018: For Sreejesh, vocal vollies are part of his job!

PR Sreejesh

Jakarta, August 27: India's hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh has no qualms whatsoever in shouting at the top of his voice at his team-mates to get his job done.

The 30-year-old was at his best in the 5-3 win against South Korea at the 2018 Asian Games as India chalked up their fourth successive victory in Pool A to secure a place in the last four, where they are likely to face Malaysia.

But with the reigning champions conceding their first three goals of tournament after a hat-trick of clean sheets, it was little surprise that his team-mates came in for a particularly animated talk from the man between the posts.

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Sreejesh, though, explained that it was not just a matter of personal frustration on his part.

"That's my job actually. I'm the goalkeeper of this team, which makes me the second coach, who can see the entire field and tell where mistakes are happening. It's my responsibility to talk to my defenders and midfielders," Sreejesh said.

"It's very important for a goalkeeper to be vocal. Usually players go quiet under pressure. As a goalkeeper, it's your duty to bring them back into the game," he added.

It was more than just talking against South Korea though.

Sreejesh snarled and grumbled from behind the grill and, on several occasions, took his helmet off to lambast his wayward team-mates.

"See, that's a normal reaction, when your expectations are really high from your team- mates," he added.

"When they make silly mistakes, there's bound to be some anger. They also know that and they always react in a positive way."

In four matches in Jakarta, India have scored 56 goals - 26 alone in a rout of Hong Kong - to remain on course for a successful title defence which would secure them a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Against South Korea, India raced to a 3-0 lead before taking their foot off the pedal and allowing their opponents successive goals to get back into the contest.

"We suddenly put ourselves under unnecessary pressure and retreated into a defensive shell," Sreejesh said.

"In times like that, you need to communicate well from behind, reminding everyone their duty - to mark rivals and not leave gaps which they can exploit."

India, who are already through to the knockout stage, next take on Sri Lanka on Tuesday in their last group encounter.

(With inputs from Agencies).

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    Story first published: Monday, August 27, 2018, 14:33 [IST]
    Other articles published on Aug 27, 2018
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