“Hero HIL will Strengthen the Four Pillars of Hockey” – PR Sreejesh
Players, coaches, fans and sponsors are the four pillars on which a sport grows. These are main factors which jointly take a sport forward. Mumbai Magicians’ main goal-keeper PR Sreejesh believes that the Hero Hockey India League will strengthen these four pillars of Indian hockey. The League will improve the technical skills of players and coaches, as well as entertain fans worldwide and bring more sponsors to this sport.
“The Hero Hockey India League will take us to a new level. Both players and coaches will gain a lot from the league,” Sreejesh said in an interview, adding: “The League will surely improve our physical and mental skills. All the teams have world class players and coaches, and they will apply their experience to bring high-level tactics on the field. The matches will be intense and that will improve our game.”
The 25-year-old goalkeeper says that all players and coaches will get enough opportunities to sharpen their skills in this League, which will help them in the long run. “Players will get an opportunity to play under some of the best coaches, learn new skills and tactics. We, especially juniors, will gain lots of experience by playing with top players. Coaches, on the other hand, will get a good chance to study various players and utilise the knowledge to build national teams for next year’s FIH World Cup,” Sreejesh said.
After the disappointment in 2012 Olympics, Kerala’s Sreejesh is taking Hero Hockey India League as a New Year gift. “This is the best event to start 2013 and I am looking forward to it this year. I am sharpening my skills for the upcoming international matches and this League will give me a decent chance to improve myself. I am very happy and proud to be a part of the League,” he stated.
Sreejesh is also delighted at getting $38,000 in the Hero HIL Players Auction, more than twice the Base Price of $13,900 and being bought by Mumbai Magicians. “Usually goalkeepers don’t get much money, but this is a good amount. I am thankful to my Franchisee for showing interest in me,” he added. The goalie will play along with international stars such as Sandeep Singh, Joel Carroll (Australia), Matthew Swann (Australia) and Mahmood Rashid (Pakistan).
Sreejesh was an athlete in his childhood days and he joined G.V. Raja Sports School, Thiruvananthapuram at the age of 12. That’s where he saw hockey for the first time and he tried the sport for a change. Soon, he was selected in the school team and from then he has played tournaments at the school, district and state levels.
In 2004, Sreejesh played his first international match against Australia in Perth, which was a part of the practice matches for the 2005 FIH Junior World Cup in The Netherlands. But he didn’t make it to the final eleven in the junior world cup. In the 2006 South Asian Games, he debuted for India in Colombo. In 2007 and 2009, Sreejesh participated in the ASHF Junior Asia Cup, Hyderabad and the FIH Champions Challenge Trophy I, Salta (Argentina) respectively.
Sreejesh was part of the Indian team in the 2010 FIH World Cup in New Delhi. In 2011, his team won the 1st Asian Champions Trophy, held in Ordos City, China, beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final match. After returning from 2012 London Olympics, he went to Doha for the 2nd Asian Champions Trophy where they lost the final match against Pakistan.
The Keralite hails from Pallikkara village, where nobody knew about the sport before Sreejesh became famous. “Hockey is not so popular in Kerala and there are very few national players from this state. In my village, they know hockey as ‘the sport Sreejesh plays’, that’s it.”