Blake Govers has been a key member of the Australian squad for the past two years and crucial to its victories at major competitions. A two-time gold medallist at the Champions Trophy, he will return to Bhubaneswar for the World Cup with pleasant memories, having won the Hockey World League Finals last year in the city.
Having missed out on the Commonwealth Games at home due to a broken finger, Govers is keen to add the World Cup to his kitty, especially after the disappointment of a quarterfinal exit at the Rio Olympics. In an interview, Govers spoke about his return from injury, his hopes from the World Cup and the influence of elder brother Kieran on his game.
Coming back from injury to be the top scorer in the Australian Hockey League and now making the national team, how prepared are you for the responsibility?
It was disappointing at the start of the year and missing out from a broken hand (he fractured a finger during training) to coming back into the side after Darwin and after the AHL, it feels good and I had good training with the team. I have got a fair bit of form at the moment and have discussed it in training and working for the World Cup. It has prepared me in the lead-up to it, first the Dutch league and then the AHL. I am now looking forward to coming out and performing at the World Cup.
Australia is the two-time reigning champion, the Champions Trophy champion and the top-ranked team in the world. How much pressure is there to live up to the high standards?
I don’t think too much about it; it’s not there in the back of my mind. Yeah, we have had two successful campaigns previously, but I think beating India in India would be tough; they are looking more the favourite than anything else. It would be interesting to see how it all goes. I think we are well prepared. Yes, we won the last two World Cups, but obviously we want to perform at the right time.
How would you rate the current Australian squad and its chances of completing a hat-trick of titles?
I guess obviously that’s what we are striving to do, going out there to win the title. We just have such a huge squad and depth all over and all very talented. We are obviously looking to go for three in a row, but there’s a lot to do and a lot ahead of us before we can do that. We have three tough round matches and then getting into the quarterfinals, it’s not easy to do. It’s not just about going there and winning. We got to be little bit more focused than that.
Your elder brother Kieran was a key member of the 2010 squad when Australia won the title in India. Do you look to emulate him here this time?
Obviously. He’s dealing with a few things himself at the moment, but, yes, he has won two World Cups, the first in New Delhi at roughly the same age as me now. I would like to strive and walk in that shadow. Winning two World Cups is a big deal and I will be talking to him throughout about it. There are so many people around us helping, including my brother.
You had a great outing exactly a year ago at the Hockey World League Finals and were also the joint second-highest scorer. What expectations do you have this time around?
I really enjoyed my time in Bhubaneswar last year, winning that tournament, and we performed well. The stadium is being revamped now and hopefully we get some of that crowd from last time. It was really nice.
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