Indian junior men’s core probable goalkeeper Sahil Kumar Nayak, who has been part of a few national camps in the last two years, has said that the senior goalkeeper PR Sreejesh has been a huge inspiration for all young hockey players in India.
Nayak said that the aspiring hockey players have been very fortunate to see the way Sreejesh has grown as a goalkeeper in the last 10 years.
“The countries which have great role-models are the ones that consistently produce good players for many years. We have been very fortunate to see the way Sreejesh has grown and evolved as a player in the last 10 years," said Nayak.
“He has shown all of us how to keep reinventing ourselves and keep performing consistently for the Indian team. He has been a huge inspiration, not just for goalkeepers, but for all aspiring hockey players in India," added the goalkeeper from Odisha.
Nayak, who is yet to make his debut for the Indian junior team, is looking forward to an opportunity next year.
“I have worked on a lot of aspects of my game in the last two years and I feel ready for an opportunity with the Indian junior team. One can practice as much as possible, but the real test of skills takes place only in matches. We have a couple of very important competitions next year - AHF Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2021 and FIH Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2021. Hopefully, I can book a place in the Indian junior team for both the competitions next year," said the 20-year-old.
When asked about his favourite moment in his domestic career so far, the goalkeeper said that winning the 9th Hockey India Junior Men National Championship 2019 (A Division) with the Odisha team will always be a high point in his career.
“Contributing to Odisha’s victory at the 9th Hockey India Junior Men National Championship 2019 (A Division) will always be up there for me. The final against Uttar Pradesh Hockey was a tense one. After being 1-1 in regulation time, we held our nerve to win the penalty shootout 4-3. Hopefully, I can help the Indian team win in the same manner in big tournaments in the near future," said