Veteran Indian hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh is taking one tournament at a time as far as his future is concerned and says he will “see how things happen” after the Asian Games in China in September-October.
The 35-year-old legend is nearing 300 international matches after making his India debut in 2006. He is currently sharing goalkeeping duties for India with Krishan Bahadur Pathak in the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy (ACT).
“At this age, better don’t ask me about the next two years. It’s all about the next one. I am at the Asian Games, and after that, I’ll see how things happen. I will take it one tournament at a time,” Sreejesh told PTI when asked about the possibility of him featuring in another ACT.
The ACT is a biennial tournament, but the venue and dates of the next edition is yet to be announced.
“As (Novak) Djokovic said, ‘35 is the new 25’. So, I’m definitely there,” Sreejesh said after India thrashed archrival Pakistan 4-0 on Wednesday.
Sreejesh, who has featured for India in several matches against Pakistan, does not want to get carried away with the dominant win.
“All the matches are important for us at this stage. Also, once you come to a certain level, it’s all about your and your team’s performance. It’s just a pool game (vs Pakistan). So, you don’t need to be too excited about it, but just gain the three points.
“We are not at a stage to say that we will win it. But, the way we are playing and showing it on the field, we believe we will put up a strong show against the sides coming up,” he said.
India vice-captain and midfielder Hardik Singh hailed the team’s final execution inside the box in the convincing win against Pakistan but noted that more patience would be needed to get more goals against Japan in the semifinal.
“Our final execution inside the box has been good. We haven’t conceded any goals (vs Pakistan), which is a good thing. We expect to carry the same momentum in the upcoming matches,” he told PTI.
“But we still need to have more patience inside the box, which is extremely important. Also, we need to set the tempo of the game. We will be treating them (Japan) as a top team.” India and Japan had played out a 1-1 draw in the round-robin league stage.
Talking about the confidence level of the side, Hardik said, “Confidence in the team is at the topmost level right now.
“Regardless of which team we are up against now, even if it’s Australia, we would have moved in with the same mindset.” Commenting on the umpiring decisions, Hardik said, “I believe the umpiring could be a bit better, as there is always room for improvement.”
Pakistan coach Muhammad Saqlain was critical of a few umpiring decisions during the match.