Saturday, February 21, 2015

Looking to raise performance bar: Sandeep

Sandeep Singh turned out for now-defunct Dabur Mumbai Magicians in the inaugural HIL season and switched loyalties to home franchise Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the 2014 edition, and both occasions he emerged as the top goal-scorer.

The Haryana Police DSP is on the cusp of becoming the top goal-scorer for the third consecutive year with 8 goals so far, playing a key role in the Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ impressive run in the 2015 HIL.

Sandeep talks about his HIL performance in an exclusive interview.

Q You have been quite consistent with your penalty corners in the Hero Hockey India League – you are on the verge of becoming the top goal-scorer in the HIL for the third consecutive time. Your thoughts.

I’m looking to deliver for my team whether it is scoring goals from short corners or blunting the opposition attacks in defence. I’m looking to raise the performance bar and there is always so much to learn from each game.

Q Do you think your performance in the HIL may open the window of national selection for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup?

Well, I’m focused on the Hero Hockey India and would like to do my best so that my team – Jaypee Punjab Warriors – wins the HIL after we came close to doing it last season. HIL is my prime focus and I’m not thinking of anything else at the moment.

Q There is a lot of completion in the Indian team for drag-flickers – Rupinder and Raghunath are shaping up well and then we have the likes of Gurjinder and Harmanpreet waiting in the wings.

Competition will always be there and is good for the team. I’m just focused on my game and as far as national selection is concerned, I’m not thinking about it as my focus is on the HIL.

Q Most of the foreign coaches like Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh have felt that your defending skills are hindering your chances of playing in the national team.

Look, no player is complete and it is a learning curve and I’m no different. I have gained experience over the years, but learning will keep happening in every game. I like to improve all the time and never let complacency creep into my system.

Q You have played in various foreign hockey leagues. How would you rate the Hero Hockey India League?

I think Hero Hockey India League is the world’s best hockey league. The world hockey’s who who are taking part in HIL and the league has raised the profile of Indian hockey.

Q Do you think the Indian youngsters are benefiting from the HIL?

HIL has provided a wonderful platform for Indian youngster to showcase their skills, gain experience of playing top players and can be serve as a good supply line for the national team. I’m confident that the bench strength of the national team will grow in coming years thanks to HIL.

Q  Can we hope to see Sandeep Singh playing in the 2016 Rio Olympics?

Like I have said, I am only focusing on HIL, Rio Olympics is still some way away. I don’t want to talk on selection matters.

Q How are things shaping up on the movie that will be made on your playing career.

Well, the work on the movie will happen once the HIL is over. I will talk about that once the HIL ends.

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