P.R. Sreejesh: Sometimes, I hurl abuses to remove frustration

P.R. Sreejesh has found a strange way to switch from negative mode and get back the positive feel after conceding a goal.

P. R. Sreejesh believes his game and style of thinking have changed with time.   -  Special Arrangement

P.R. Sreejesh has found a strange way to switch from negative mode and get back the positive feel after conceding a goal. And it’s not something you'd like to hear.

“Sometimes, I hurl abuses at somebody to remove the frustration. Raghunath was a good companion earlier. In fact, at times before 2016, he used to tell me to shout at him during matches so that both of us could regain our energy,” revealed the star Indian hockey goalkeeper here on Thursday.

“Now, it’s (V.S.) Sunil and Birendra Lakra... even if you hurl abuses at them, they will not take it negatively. But, if you use it against youngsters, their performance will suddenly go down.”

After his fine performance in the Hockey Pro League against the Netherlands recently, Sreejesh and the Indian team are on a high these days. Now 32, Sreejesh is a mature player, at peace with himself.

“Goalkeepers play a very different game in hockey, it's more of a mental game. I’m more relaxed during games now. There is no unnecessary pressure, like I have to shoulder the team’s full burden. I just think I should do my job, if I do that, the team will win. That’s the transformation I’ve had,” said the star goalkeeper who was in Kochi to talk about the launch of the Campeones Sports City, a project he is closely associated with.

“Earlier, when the ball came to me, I used to prepare myself mentally for it. I used to predict that it would come this way or that. Now there no prediction, there is only reaction. I see the ball and I go to save it. Goalkeeping is mainly about reaction, if you predict there could be mistakes. That is a big plus point now and it took 10 years to understand that.”

Big question

This being the Olympic year, the big question is whether the Indian team would finish among the medals in Tokyo.

“The semifinal or final, that’s the target at Tokyo. Of course, all will be going for gold but I think we have the quality to get to the final,” he said.

“We are sure of making the quarterfinal. The actual ‘game’ starts after that, for till then (in the league) you have the next match to do better. But once you enter the quarterfinal, your pressure-management skills come into play and you will be given your ‘marks’ accordingly.”

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