Don’t give up and fight till the end, T20 World Cup win becomes inspiration for hockey legend Sreejesh

Bengaluru. ‘Don’t give up and keep fighting till the end’, the Indian cricket team’s title win in the T20 World Cup has also inspired Indian hockey great goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who is going to play his fourth Olympics, who will remember it in Paris. India defeated South Africa in a thrilling T20 World Cup final after coming on the verge of defeat and won the ICC title after 11 years. Sreejesh said in an interview, “I watched the final match. The biggest lesson I have learned from this is not to celebrate before the last ball. South Africa was winning easily till the 15th over but the Indian team did not give up hope and won after coming on the verge of defeat.”

The 36-year-old veteran, who has played 328 matches for India, said, “Not only us but every player going to the Olympics should learn from this. Do not give up, wait and stay firm till the last moment, victory will definitely come. I will remember this in the Olympics.” From starting to play hockey to get grace marks in the board exams to winning an Olympic medal and playing the fourth Olympics, Sreejesh has come a long way in his career spanning two decades. He said about playing the fourth Olympics, “It is a matter of great honor and pride but with it there are responsibilities too. The responsibility of guiding the youth, the responsibility of motivating the team to achieve the goal. ”

He said, “My journey has been like a dream. When I started playing to get grace marks in board exams, I never thought that I would wear the Indian jersey and play in the Olympics. The fourth Olympics seems like a dream. So far, only Dhanraj Pillai has participated in four Olympics, four World Cups, Champions Trophy and Asian Games. I am the first goalkeeper to play four Olympics, I can’t believe it.” He said, “The journey of Olympics is like a child. First you are helpless, then you walk staggeringly and then you run. Similarly, London Olympics 2012 was like a nightmare in which we lost all the matches. The performance in Rio 2016 was better and the lessons learnt from these two Olympics prepared us for Tokyo.”

Sreejesh, who was the FIH’s best player, said, “We shared our experiences with the youth and told them not to repeat those mistakes. This is how we were able to win an Olympic medal after 41 years.” Sreejesh, who was the hero of India’s victory in the bronze medal match against Germany, said, “There will be expectations but they need to be taken positively. I tell the youth that there will be criticism, there will be expectations but you are the boss on the field. Stick to your basics and enjoy the game.” He said, “I have played for a long time, have been successful and have also failed. When I tell the youth something, they understand. I keep challenging them so that they can give their best.”

He said, “There is a lot of pressure in the Olympics. It is like a pressure cooker. The media’s eyes are on you, people start giving opinions on social media and your attention gets diverted. I would advise you to focus on your game without listening to outside voices.” Indian cricket’s wall Rahul Dravid had given him an advice years ago and he always followed it in his career. He said, “I met Dravid bhai years ago. He told me about the importance of patience. He said wait for your chance. I did the same. I did not become the best goalkeeper overnight. I waited for the right opportunities.”

India has got a pool of big teams like Argentina, Australia and Belgium in the Olympics but Sreejesh is not under pressure. He said, “I play by imagining the match scenario. This helps me to perform best under pressure. We play hockey 365 days a year but the ground, the audience and the atmosphere create pressure. Only those who deal with this pressure well are successful. We play by imagining this atmosphere in practice so that we are successful on the day of the match.

Disclaimer: CricketInFocus has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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