One of the newest additions to the Indian men’s hockey team, Sanjay is hoping to impress chief coach Graham Reid as the side prepares for the crucial 2022-23 FIH Men’s Pro League at home.
The young defender, who was recently nominated for the 2021-2022 FIH Star Awards for the FIH Rising Star of the Year in men’s category, said on Wednesday, “I hope to settle into the Indian team set-up quickly and make my mark. The only thing I can do for that is to work hard in training every day and try to be the best version of myself at each training session.”
The young defender was vice-captain of the Indian junior team that finished fourth in the FIH Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, scoring eight goals, the most for the team.
Reflecting on the FIH nomination, Sanjay said, “I am elated to have been nominated for the FIH Rising Star of the Year (Men) award. But more than me, this nomination is down to the full team effort as we have all been working together and without everyone’s participation, getting recognised would be difficult.”
Sanjay, who is well known for his abilities as a drag-flicker, added that recognition for the hard work always feels good. “I am grateful that all the efforts we put in during the hours of training and the games is recognised through a nomination for the top most award in the sport of hockey. It always motivates a young player like me to keep up the intensity as there could be more recognition, but also it will translate into better results for the national team.”
Sanjay, who transitioned to the senior team only recently, has continued with his good run of form, and played a big role in the FIH Hockey 5s, scoring four goals as India finished champions.
“The Men’s FIH Hockey 5s tournament was a good experience, the format is new, so it is challenging as well. This was also my first time with the senior team, and I enjoyed it. That we finished as champions made it even better.”
In the first phase of 2022-23 FIH Pro League India will play six games, three each against New Zealand and Spain from October 28 to November 6 in Bhubaneshwar.