A relaxed P.R. Sreejesh seemed confident of India's chances at the Olympics but cautioned his men against taking their eyes off the task.
“In a normal tournament, it is easy for you to play but at an event like the Olympics, the pressure from outside is huge,” he said.
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“Your surroundings themselves can be distracting. When you see Usain Bolt or Serena Williams walking around, you feel you are in a fancy world because all these stars are sharing a dining hall with you. It can happen in the Games village. The main advice I can offer my players is to focus on our business. We are there for our purpose and our aim and we will not stop concentrating until we accomplish that.”
Sreejesh felt there was much to be optimistic about. “In this team, there are eight players including Kothajit (who was on standby) from London,” he said. “They have experience. Since 2013, we have had a core of 35-40 players. So we jell well and understand each other well – on and off the field. Look at our fitness levels – take the Champions Trophy final for example, where we fought till the last minute. There are so many games we have dominated because of our fitness levels.”
The captain said the first target would be to reach the quarterfinals. “We are not judging any team (in the group stages),” he said. “Even Canada or Ireland can be the strongest team. We can't say. We are there to win all matches. In the past, we have drawn with Ireland but beaten Holland. So it is all possible.”
There is a plan in place, though, for every rival. “We have our strategy for each team,” Sreejesh grinned. “Those are a secret. We have a basic structure and then specific plans for each team and player. We have our Brahmasthra .”