“That’s how my career in Hockey started shaping up,” recalled Dahiya, who is one among the four goalkeepers in the Senior India scheme of things. The others being PR Sreejesh, Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera.
For a young boy who bunked school and was never sound academically, Dahiya comes across as a person with clear priorities. It was not a surprise then that he spoke highly about the competition he is facing to sneak into the senior India team. In fact, he knows very well that all the goalkeepers will get their chances and the one who delivers, will serve India in the days to come.
“There was always competition for a goalkeeper’s spot, but it has only increased now,” he said on the sidelines of the Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournament being conducted by the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited at their Churchgate premise. Dahiya manned the bar for Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited in a drawn encounter against Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) on Wednesday.
“In the present scenario, all of us are bound to get opportunities. We are four goalkeepers, and both Akash Chikte and Sreejesh had gone for the Hockey World League semifinal in London. Now Suraj and Akash were given a chance in the Hockey World League Final. So yeah, everyone gets a chance because all four goalkeepers go through the same training regime. If all don’t get a chance then it will be unfair,” Dahiya observed.
Sreejsh is the senior-most and the most experienced among the four. But the Kerala goalkeeper does not have too much time left in international hockey. In a year or two, he will have to pave the way for either Dahiya, Karkera or Chikte. Dahiya admits that the trio, even though they have and are still learning a lot from the senior pro, can hope to replace Srejeesh in the senior national team.
“All of us are growing under Sreejesh, because after he departs, one of us will have to take his place. So there is a lot of competition between us. Sreejesh undoubtedly is the most experienced among us. We spend the whole day under him and receive similar level of training. But because we know he has to make way for one of us in the days to come, we have started thinking about competing with him in a healthy way. Earlier, none of us could even imagine competing with him,” he said.
Even Sreejesh knows he doesn’t have much time left and he is mentoring juniors in every way he can. “He (Sreejesh) has created a very positive environment for us. Normally, if someone is competing with you, you wouldn’t offer tips or share secrets, because you fear he may end up replacing you, but that’s not how it is with Sreejesh,” Dahiya said.
For now, Dahiya is awaiting his turn.
Source : timesofindia