Asian Games 2018: PR Sreejesh says India's rise to fifth spot in rankings can inspire team to do well at Jakarta
PR Sreejesh said the Asian Games will be totally different from Champions Trophy because the participating nations' style of hockey is different from that of European countries.
Bengaluru: Captain PR Sreejesh on Wednesday said that the Indian hockey team's elevation to fifth spot in world rankings would inspire it to perform even better in the upcoming 2018 Asian Games and FIH World Cup.
"The elevation gives us a big boost to do well in the upcoming 18th Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta and the World Cup in Bhubaneswar. We want to finish as title winner in our backyard," he said on the sidelines of the ongoing national camp at SAI centre.
Sreejesh said the Asian Games will be totally different from Champions Trophy because the participating nations' style of hockey is different from that of European countries.
Apart from playing against Pakistan, India will face the challenge of Korea and Malaysia, whose standard of hockey is completely different, Sreejesh said.
He said the pressure on the teams will be different at the Asian Games because all are eyeing for Olympics berths.
Replying to a query, Sreejesh said nothing has changed ever since he made a comeback as a captain because he was doing his duty as a senior player.
"Being a goalkeeper I speak to defenders and midflielders during games. I support them and that is what I am doing earlier will do in future," he said.
Sreejesh said he shoulders more responsibility off the field to keep the players united and do more team-bonding activities, which have to be fun, not formal.
He said he is not the captain when he takes the field, but just a goalkeeper, and the responsibilities were distributed among the players.
"We distribute responsibility in the team. Among the defenders, Harmanpreet, Birendra, Bob (Rupinder) have to take leadership. Among midfielders, Manpreet and Sardar, even Chinglensana, have to take the lead," he said.
"In the forward line, Sunil, Akash and Mandeep are there to take responsibility. So, it is my duty to give life to my team, and on the field I am just a goalkeeper saving post," he added.
In the first quarter-final of the day, Germany eked out a narrow 3-1 win over Spain in the shoot-out after both the teams were locked at 2-2 in regulation time, before Argentina beat Netherlands 2-1.
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