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Interview: Forgotten Sarvanjit Singh hopes to use Hockey India League as comeback vehicle

The former Indian forward has been absent from the international hockey scene since his appearance at the London Olympics in 2012.

Sarvanjit Singh India Hockey
Singh has not played internationally in over three years

Sarvanjit Singh’s a forgotten name in Indian hockey. The use of the word ‘forgotten’ may not be much off an exaggeration considering the fact that the talented forward has been in the international wilderness for more than three years now, last featuring in India’s 2012 London Olympics campaign.

Singh has indeed gone off the selectors’ radar, as if he were ‘principally responsible’ for the country’s wooden spoon finish in the 2012 London Olympics.

The 27-year-old, who made his Hockey India League debut in the 2014 edition for the Mumbai Magicians, was not considered for the 2015 edition and has been picked by defending champions Ranchi Rays for the 2016 edition.

Understandably, he is excited about making an impression in the 2016 edition. “I will strive to perform at my best and help Ranchi Rays regain the HIL crown. I want to perform well and at the same time, help my team fare well in the HIL,” he says with confidence.

Employed with Punjab & Sind Bank, the soft-spoken Gurdaspur lad has played his part in his employers winning the All India Gurmeet Memorial Hockey Tournament and the 52nd Nehru Hockey Tournament.

“Punjab & Sind Bank has done well in 2015 – we beat Punjab Police to win the All India Gurmeet Memorial Hockey Tournament and Punjab National Bank to win the 52nd Nehru Hockey Tournament. I scored four goals in the 52nd Nehru Hockey Tournament,” quips Singh, who captained Punjab to glory in the 2012 senior nationals.

He had also led the Punjab side in the 2013 Nationals, where they finished runners-up.

Singh made his senior international debut at the 2007 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, where the team garnered a bronze medal. He was also part of the silver-winning team of the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the victorious Indian teams at the 2009 and 2010 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

He last played at the 2012 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, where India won a bronze. He may have made five Azlan Shah Cup appearances but his most satisfying moment has been till date scoring thrice in India’s win over England in the semifinal of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“I scored twice in regulation time and the match ended 3-3. I again scored in the shootout as we sneaked into the final. I have had many joyous moments wearing the national jersey but this win against England was most exciting.”

Singh is hoping to use the Hockey India League to press his claim for a national team berth.

“Who does not want to play for India? I work hard and try to give my best for Punjab & Sind Bank and hope my performance is noticed. I’m sure a good showing in the HIL will help to make a national comeback,” he signs off.

The Ranchi Rays are a formidable side and a commendable performance from Sarvanjit may just help him seal a spot in the Indian team ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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