Life’s struggles haven’t deterred Krishan Pathak one bit. In fact, he has become stronger after each debacle, ultimately becoming one of the best ever goalkeepers of the Indian men’s hockey team.
And on Monday, the 26-year-old from Punjab is set to feature in his 100th international against Korea in the Asian Champions Trophy.
Losing his parents at a young age was tragic. He lost his mother in 2007 when he was at the Surjit Singh Academy in Jalandhar. In 2015, on the eve of the Junior World Cup, a tournament India went on to win, Pathak lost his father. He lived with his uncle before getting married in May, this year, and settling down in Mumbai.
100 international caps is a significant milestone given the pain he had to endure. Typical of the player, Pathak underplayed it, saying his life is the same as any other hockey player’s. “I am not at all different. It’s the same as for most other hockey players. Everybody struggles in some way or another. Of course, childhood struggles were there. My uncle supported me when I stayed with him,” said Pathak in a conversation with Sportstar.
Although he has played second fiddle to P. R. Sreejesh for most of his five years with the national men’s team, it has been a learning curve, according to Pathak. “When I came to the Indian team in 2018, I was a bit apprehensive. Obviously, when a new player joins the team, it is always difficult to communicate with the seniors. Things got better as Sreejesh and I started playing more together. We discussed our games, and our bonding got better,” he said. So much so that Pathak discusses not just hockey, but also life matters with his senior player.
Pathak remembers Chennai as the place where he got his call-up to the national junior team camp after a solid performance in the junior nationals. “It was the Nationals in 2013. Harmanpreet (Singh), Varun, Harjit (Singh), Jarmanpreet (Singh), we all played together here,” he recalled.
In the next 11 months or so, it will only be hockey and nothing else for Pathak. His focus will be on the Asian Games and the Paris Olympics. “Our main aim is to win gold in the Asian Games and qualify for the Olympics,” he said.
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