Bengaluru [India], Mar.29 : More than two years since his last call-up for the national camp, 23-year-old Amit Rohidas is on a comeback trail after a formidable performance in the backline for 2017 Coal India Hockey India League champions Kalinga Lancers.
He executed his team's plans to perfection on most occasions and helped the Champion team led by German stalwart Moritz Fuerste concede fewer goals.
"I am really happy to receive this call-up for the national camp," expressed an elated Rohidas after a rigorous morning session in the gym, here at the Sports Authority of India on Tuesday.
After making a memorable debut in the junior squad at the U18 in Asia Cup in 2009, Rohidas was part of the junior squad right up to the 2013 FIH Junior Men's Hockey World Cup in New Delhi.
He often found a place in the senior camp too and even played at the 2014 Hockey Men's World League Final.
"But after that for more than three years I was out of the national camp. But I never gave up hope," he stated. The defender from Saunamura village of Sundargarh district in Odisha grew up playing hockey with local boys.
Inspired by former India skipper Dilip Tirkey, who hails from his village, Rohidas vehemently took to the sport after his village team lost in the final of a local village tournament where the winning team gets to feast on Khasi, a breed of goat meat considered to be a delicacy in the tribal region.
In 2004, he joined Panposh Sports Hostel in Rourkela where he honed his skills as a professional hockey player.
"But the past three years was a difficult phase for me, waiting in the fringes, hoping for a comeback.
I stayed persistent and I am thankful to Hockey India as I played back-to-back national championships, got to improve my game in the domestic circuit and earnestly practiced for the Coal India HIL.
I think it was this year's good stint in Coal India HIL that the selectors noticed me once again. This is like a new lease of life for me," he said. From a very humble background, Rohidas's parents worked for daily wages, he has climbed the success ladder with creditable performances in Coal India HIL where he was first auctioned for 29,000 dollars in 2013.
He has played under Moritz Fuerste for five years and feels this stint has helped him grow as a player.
"There are a lot of new things you get to learn as a player under Moritz. It was the zest to play an improvised League year after year that kept me motivated despite being absent in the Indian camp," he admitted.
There is a good opportunity for Amit Rohidas to prove himself to earn a berth for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup slated to begin on April 29.
With Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans putting his wards under the scanner, day after day in the 40-day camp, and the selection trials scheduled for next week, Amit Rohidas is eager to show his worth again and make this opportunity count.