Hockey

Injury has opened my eyes to life outside hockey: Sreejesh

Sreejesh   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy

It is nearly three months since P.R. Sreejesh tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. The goalkeeper has since undergone surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation process before rejoining the National camp here a couple of weeks ago.

A return to action may still be some time away, but when he arrived at the SAI, Sreejesh put his pads on and spent time walking on the pitch, simply soaking it in. “It had been almost 90 days since I put my pads on,” he said here on Saturday.

“I just wanted to get that feeling. It was like being a goalkeeper for the first time. I wore my pads, walked around, stood on the field. I could remember what all was happening with me before the injury. It reminded me of where I was before and where I am now.”

Sreejesh had originally planned to return to action in November but he now admits it might take a little longer. As India prepares for the Asia Cup, there is again a new coach to get used to, but Sreejesh is not concerned. “It’s nothing new,” he said.

“In 2014 Terry Walsh went and Paul van Ass came in. Then Roelant (Oltmans) came in. Now Sjoerd (Marijne) comes in.

“All I’m thinking about is how I’m going to work with him and how we perform than worrying that this has happened.”

Oltmans and Marijne were different, he felt. “The way Sjoerd says things are different because he wants players to take the initiative. He wants players to be given more importance. He makes plans but he takes inputs from our side on how we want to play, and whether these workouts are helping us improve. For everything, he takes feedback.”

The injury had opened his eyes to life away from hockey, Sreejesh stated. “The injury was a good thing. I was in a hockey shell before.

“I never imagined Sreejesh without hockey. But these three months have given me the courage to think that a life without hockey is possible. There’s a world outside, there’s your family. You need to be with everyone.”

The 29-year-old was delighted that he had been able to witness the birth of his second child. “I was there when he was born. I was there for his naming ceremony.

“I missed all this with my first child. I missed watching her grow up. I saw her every three months. But now I’m getting some time to spend with my baby. Now I wake up at midnight, change diapers, and carry the baby. Now I feel I’m a father.”


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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 10:17:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/injury-has-opened-my-eyes-to-life-outside-hockey-sreejesh/article19743933.ece

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