Bengaluru, Sep 12: Senior India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who has been nominated for the FIH Men's Goalkeeper of the Year Award 2021-22, believes it is the collective team effort that has helped him get his nomination for the coveted award which he won last year.
Sreejesh stated, "It is an honour for me to be nominated for the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year award category. Even though I have been nominated as an individual, it wouldn't have been possible without my teammates, who have been giving their best each and every day for the team. I am privileged to have such amazing teammates and coaching staff who have helped me bring out the best of my game and helped me to take it to another level."
The seasoned campaigner, who has won many accolades and awards in his career, added, "Every time I get nominated for the awards, I feel I am raising the bar for myself and for the youngsters who aspire to become goalkeepers. If you want to reach this level, you have to keep working hard and strive to be better every day."
The Indian team have been drawn in Pool D with England, Spain and Wales for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, scheduled to be played from 13 to 29 January 2023.
Sharing his thoughts on the World Cup draw, the 34-year-old said, "It is an interesting pool. England, Spain and Wales all three are really good teams. Having played England and Wales at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games recently, I feel it will be a tough competition. But, we don't need to think about it right now. At present, it's all about us. We are going step-by-step and working on our game at the national camp. We are very excited and looking forward to playing the World Cup at home for the second consecutive time."
Speaking about the team's prospects at the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-23 matches, Sreejesh said that the matches in Odisha will be like a mock test for the team ahead of the 2023 Men's Hockey World Cup.
"FIH Hockey Pro League is the best platform for us because we get to play against some of the top teams. The upcoming matches at home will be like a mock test for us, it will help us for the real challenge which we will face in January 2023. It will also help us in providing young players the experience of playing high-level hockey. So, it's a great opportunity for us as it will sort of help us set the tempo for the World Cup," he signed off.
Apart from Sreejesh, Harmanpreet Singh (FIH Player of the Year Men), Savita (FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Women), Sanjay (FIH Rising Star of the Year Men), Mumtaz Khan (FIH Rising Star of the Year Women), Graham Reid (FIH Men's Team Coach of the Year Men) and Janneke Schopman (FIH Women's Team Coach of the Year Women) have also been nominated for FIH Hockey Star Awards 2021-22.