Hockey

Sunil: a key forward and a special player

One of the strengths of the Indian hockey team is its attack from the right and incisive striker S.V. Sunil is an important member of the swift forwardline.

The alarming speed with which he goes past rival defenders and the way he delivers his stinging shots make Sunil a special player. In India's quest for an Olympic berth, the lean forward from Coorg (Karnataka) is all set to play a crucial role.

After the Test series against South Africa, chief coach Michael Nobbs had underlined the value of Sunil. Nobbs had said that if the experienced Rajpal Singh had to find a place in the team, he had to replace Sunil and it was very hard considering the Karnataka player's present form.

A player who made his debut in the 2007 Asia Cup in Chennai (where India won the title), Sunil could not make a mark until recently. A major injury in his right knee just before the 2010 World Cup forced him to take a break of one year.

Impressive

After undergoing a surgery, he impressed everyone with his performance since returning to the international scene in the Azlan Shah Cup last year. “It was a very bad injury. I could not even climb the steps. Thanks to Dr. B.K. Nayak and physio Shrikant Iyengar, who helped me a lot in overcoming the injury,” said Sunil during an interaction, here on Wednesday.

“The Sports Authority of India also helped me by bearing Rs. 4 lakh spent on my surgery,” he added.

High point

The Champions Challenge in Johannesburg last year was a high point of Sunil's career. He scored four goals, the most by an Indian striker in the tournament, and created several opportunities. “Right now, I am going through my peak. However, I am working on improving my receiving skill and accuracy in scoring,” said the 24-year-old.

One of the assistant coaches in the National camp, Clarence Lobo, heaped praise on the shy forward. “He is fabulous with his raids and tires the opponent defenders out by applying constant pressure. Besides, his sharp one-touch game inside the circle is too good,” noted Lobo.

Right-out Sunil is humble enough to acknowledge the support of right-in Sarvanjit Singh and right-half Birendra Lakra on and off the pitch. “I take their advice when they make a point. I have got a good rapport with Sarvan.”

Now, Sunil hopes that he will be able to contribute a bit in India's campaign in the Olympic qualifier.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 1:07:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/sunil-a-key-forward-and-a-special-player/article2872921.ece

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