Sreejesh: Matches against Germany, Great Britain good tuneup for Olympics

Former captain of the Indian National team, Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh, believes facing international teams in the Europe tour will be great exposure for the team ahead of the upcoming Olympics.

Indian men's hockey goalkeeper P. R. Sreejesh.

Indian men's hockey goalkeeper P. R. Sreejesh feels playing against quality sides like Germany and Great Britain will help the team prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics from July 23. 

After a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian men's team, ranked No. 4 in the world, will play against world No. 6 Germany in the first of their four-match tour of Europe starting on Sunday.

After facing the Germans once again on Tuesday, the Indian team will travel to Antwerp, Belgium, to play against Great Britain on March 6 and 8.

"These matches against Germany and Great Britain are super important for our preparations. It is an opportunity to test ourselves tactically, physically and mentally," Sreejesh said.

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"We are very lucky to be able to play against quality teams despite the ongoing pandemic. This outing will help us set the parameter and enable us to plan our months leading up to the Olympics," he added.

India last played in the FIH Hockey Pro League held in January and February 2020, where the team took on the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia in Bhubaneswar.

"Not playing competitive matches in over a year has been very difficult, mostly mentally than physically. Though we played a lot of matches internally over the past few months in SAI, the next few weeks in Europe will show exactly where we are at in terms of performance," Sreejesh said.

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On the match against Germany, Sreejesh said, "We have watched this team closely, analysed their game and replicated how we must play against them during the past few weeks in camp. They play man-to-man, and our style of play will be slightly tweaked to succeed against them. The whole idea is to implement what we have been doing in camp these past few months, and the focus will be on ourselves."

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