Back in action, Rupinder feels the future is now

Out of action for almost six months due to a groin injury that also included the triumphant Asia Cup recently, Rupinder Pal Singh is keen to get back to action. The time off from the field has given the lanky 27-year old a new perspective to the game’s and his future.

Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne has emphasised the importance of warm-up matches especially for Birendra Lakra and Rupinder who are coming back into the team after a long lay-off.   -  Getty Images

Out of action for almost six months due to a groin injury that also included the triumphant Asia Cup recently, Rupinder Pal Singh is keen to get back to action. The time off from the field has given the lanky 27-year old a new perspective to the game’s and his future.

“Personally, the target now is to improve our performance from the last edition (India finished third) and every game is important to improve ourselves. I think ab bahot ho gaya ki hum dekhte hain, dekhenge (it’s been too long saying we are looking at the future). The future is now. We have to prepare ourself mentally and look at winning every game from here on,” Rupinder told Sportstar after the team’s penultimate practice session before the Hockey World League Finals kick off on Friday.

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“This is the start of the big tournaments. Individual performance here will count a lot for the next year. My aim is to guide the youngsters, keep them calm on field and get the best out of them. As a team, we will get to know where exactly we stand in the world. We look to make each other better. I am playing with this group and under the new coach for the first time, there is not much change in strategy. We are trying new combinations and everything depends on player understanding, need to work a lot on it,” he added.

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His own fitness has been a concern but the lanky 27-year old admits the doubting phase is over. “Overall it is fine but there is still need for a lot of improvement,” he admitted when asked about himself. “The training I did before this and now after coming here with the team has been good. Earlier there was a bit of hesitance in terms of the load I put on my body and doubts on the pan recurring if I did too much. But now there is no pressure psychologically,” he said.

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The fact that he would team up with Birendra Lakra in the defence, here at the Hockey World League Finals, after almost two years, has also excited the experienced drag-flicker. “Me and Biru started around the same time so it feels good to be back together on the ground. There are a lot of youngsters also and we have to talk to them a lot more to get the entire structure bang on but things are falling into place,” a dripping Rupinder signed off.

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