Going to be hard to fill Sreejesh's shoes: Karkera

Suraj Karkera will have big shoes to fill with veteran goalie P.R. Sreejesh being rested for the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament.

FILE PHOTO: Indian men's hockey team goalkeepers Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran, with Krishan Pathak, right, and Suraj Karkera, left.   -  The Hindu

Suraj Karkera, who has been picked in India's Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament squad in place of the rested P. R. Sreejesh, says it will be hard to fill the seasoned goalkeeper's shoes.

The 26-year-old Karkera last played for India at the Tokyo Olympics test event in 2019.

"I am really excited to get a chance to play for India after a long time. Anytime you get a chance to don the Indian jersey, you feel the goosebumps. I am not nervous at all as we have trained well. I feel confident about myself and my abilities," Karkera said ahead of the event in Dhaka.

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Karkera will have big shoes to fill with veteran goalie Sreejesh being rested for the tournament.

"PR Sreejesh has done so much for India for so many years. It is always going to be hard to fill his shoes. But I will try to give my 100 percent whenever I get an opportunity," Karkera said.

"We have been learning from him for so long. He shares his knowledge with all of us during goalpost training and gives us a lot of tips. So, I have a big responsibility," he added.

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Apart from vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh and experienced player Varun Kumar, India has also included young players like Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Nilam Sanjeep Xess and Mandeep Mor in the squad.

This will be India's first competition since the Tokyo Olympics. Three-time champion India will begin its campaign in the tournament on December 14 against Korea.

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