What’s the story?
Indian national hockey team’s under-18 skipper, Nilam Sanjeep Xess who will represent the Kalinga Lancers’ in the upcoming edition of the Hockey India League is eager to make his debut in the cash-rich tournament and is of the opinion that in the longer run, this stint will help him improve his overall game.
"This is a huge opportunity for me. While I am very nervous to play against such top players in Coal India HIL, I am aware this exposure will make a lot of difference to my game. The money (approx Rs 2 lakh) from HIL will help me buy a kit and shoes. I also want to send some money for my parents as it will help them a great deal," he was quoted as saying in a press release.
Commenting on how the Junior India World Cup probables camp at Sports Authority of India (SAI) helped him, Sanjeep said, “That camp was very useful for me though I didn't make it to the team. I am a defender and drag-flicker and I got to practice a lot with Harmanpreet Singh and worked on my technique.
“He is extremely good at drag-flicking and he motivates me a lot. The Junior World Cup win is a big inspiration for youngsters like me and I wish to emulate the team's success in the future tournaments.”
In case you didn’t know...
The young player who plays in the capacity of a defender has his roots in the Bargarh district of Odisha. He was the captain of the Under-17 Indian team which won the Asia Cup, and was subsequently picked up by the Kalinga Lancers’ in the HIL auctions which were held in November last year.
Heart of the matter
Sanjeep Xess who debuted for India at the 12th South Asian Games held in 2016 at Guwahati, will be playing in the Hockey India League for the very first time in the 2017 edition.
The youngster thus seems to be very excited about the opportunity to play alongside senior players in the likes of Devinder Walmiki, Pardeep Mor, Lalit Upadhyay and Dharamvir Singh with Kalinga Lancers.
Moreover, he has already started prepping for the big stage and tackles any bouts of nervousness by being in regular touch with players like Birendra Lakra and Dipsan Tirkey, both of whom hail from his native land of Odisha.
The Kalinga Lancers have already begun their training camp with the players on Tuesday. The runners-up from the last edition will clash against the Delhi Waveriders in their first match on the 23rd of January at Bhubaneshwar.
It is very heartening to see young and talented players being given the opportunity to not only showcase their skills but also improve their game alongside senior and international players on a global stage. Moreover, the league also provides the players with monetary benefits which boosts their confidence further, helping them overall to put in good performances without any sort of worry at the back of their mind.