Indian hockey keeper PR Sreejesh ruled of 34th Champions Trophy, to return home
Indian men’s hockey team suffered a setback as its current number one goalkeeper Parattu Ravindran Sreejesh, better known as PR Sreejesh, was ruled out of the 34th FIH Champions Trophy tournament being played in Melbourne.
The 24-year-old, who hails from Kizhakkambalam village in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, picked up a hamstring injury during the Lanco Super Series match against Pakistan.
Hockey India sources said that the team management were initially hopeful of Sreejesh being fit in time for the Champions Trophy before a final call was made following a fitness test conducted on him by the team’s physio. “Initially, we thought he may recover in time for the Champions Trophy but a day before the opening game against England the team’s physio conducted a fitness test on him and accordingly decided that his fitness was not up to the mark,” the source said.
The physio arrived at a decision that Sreejesh does not have the desired fitness levels to cope with the rigours of the entire tournament, which effectively meant that Sreejesh would take no further part in the tournament.
Sreejesh, who impressed many at the London Olympics, despite the team’s appalling show, is returning home and would be hoping to get himself fit for the inaugural Hockey India League for which the players’ auction is slated to be held later this month.
In fact, Hockey India had already put contingency plans in place in case Sreejesh failed a fitness level. “The moment Hockey India was informed that Sreejesh is suffering a hamstring injury during the Lanco Super Series, we made arrangements to rush Sushant Tirkey – one of the finds of the 2nd Sultan of Johor Cup – as a cover for him,” the source added.
As it turned out, Tirkey reached Melbourne in time for the first game against England. It’s a different matter altogether that 34-year-old PT Rao made his international appearance.
Sreejesh’s biggest hour of glory came during the first Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China last year, where he pulled off two brilliant saves in the penalty shootout to help India pip Pakistan 4-2 in the final.