Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Oct.6 : Vowing to keep the ongoing hostility between India and Pakistan aside on the field, national hockey team captain PR Sreejesh on Thursday insisted that his side will head into the upcoming Asian Champions trophy with an aim to make their country proud irrespective of whom they will be competing in the tournament.
Sreejesh's comments came in the wake of the escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations which flared after the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) last week.
Two Pakistani soldiers and over 30 terrorists were reportedly killed in the attack. The surgical strikes were in response to the terrorist attack at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 19 Indian Army soldiers.
"You can't say that everyone is a terrorist. There are good people. There are people who are supporting us also. It is a game on the field. So, we will play hockey. We will try to make our country proud that's it," Sreejesh told ANI. "Our military and ministry are doing their duty. Let them handle the issue. I am a hockey player. So, let me play my game for my country.. that is more important. I am wearing the Indian jersey. And whoever play against us, it is my duty to play for my country and make the country proud. So, that is what we are going for," he added. Admitting that the tournament would be a learning curve for his young brigade, the 28-year-old called on India to stick to their current form and showcase consistency in their performance in upcoming matches.
"Yes, definitely this is the new team, but I have been saying this for last three years. After the Olympic games, couple of youngsters have got the opportunity in the team. It is a secret platform for them to showcase their performance. So, it is going to be a new experience for us," the goalkeeper said. "None of the tournament is easy for us. So, definitely we have to work hard to be in this tournament. It is all about the current performance of us. It is important that we need to stick with that. We need to show the consistency in performances and definitely we are going to that," Sreejesh continued.
The fourth edition of the tournament will be held in Kuantan, Malaysia, starting October 20..