Learnt How to Walk Again Post Surgery: Hockey Goalie PR Sreejesh
Returning to the field after eight months, Indian hockey team’s goalkeeper PR Sreejesh said that while the recovery period was “quite tough,” knee surgery forced him to learn the basics all over again. A ligament tear in his right knee during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in April-May 2017, had forced the senior hockey player to miss majority of the tournaments last year.
While he was regularly spotted with the squad, mentoring the younger keepers, Sreejesh made his India comeback during India’s Four Nations Invitational Tournament Opener against Japan on Wednesday, 17 January.
Before he departed for New Zealand this month, The Quint caught up with PR Sreejesh for a quick chat.
How does it feel to be back in the team?
I am feeling very happy to be back after eight months.
What kind of challenges did you face during you recovery period?
From a peak period of playing, I was down to nowhere. I had to understand where I was standing. I underwent a surgery. I learnt how to walk and run all over again, strengthening the muscles. It felt like as if I were a new born baby. So, had quite a tough time. Its a new start for me in this New Zealand tournament.
You recently read Andre Agassi’s autobiography ‘Open’. What are you thoughts on it?
I loved the book and I noted how he came up with positive attitude. He was a No 1 player and then reached the 160th or 170th ranking. Again, he fought back. He went through injuries, a break-up. The way he bounced back gave a lot of courage to fight. I set a new aim for myself for 2018. It helped me realise that injuries are part and parcel of any sport.
How did you think the Indian team has evolved over the past year?
We started on a bad note, but end of 2017 was really good. The new bunch of players who started with Asia Cup are good. Under the new coach, the team is all set. Their performance in the Hockey World League Finals and Asia Cup has boosted the team’s confidence.
How do you think the younger keepers did in your absence?
I think Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera have done a very good job during the two tournaments. They have raised the level one step higher. They did well when the team needed them.
India are likely to face Pakistan in the 2018 Asian Games. Can we expect another exciting penalty shootout?
The forward team is on fire. They are working hard to score more goals. If anything happens, I am always there to support and strengthen my team.
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