Araijeet Singh Hundal is a man on a mission. With five goals to his name in just three matches at the ongoing FIH Hockey Men's Junior World Cup, Araijeet Singh Hundal has grabbed the attention of hockey buffs with his impressive performance.
Araijeet Singh is quick on his feet as a forward and as one of the four penalty corner specialists in the Indian junior hockey team, has proved his mettle with powerful dragflicks in crunch situations to help his side.
The player from Amritsar, Punjab, scored a hat-trick in India's 13-1 win against Canada and was awarded the Player of the Match for his performance.
As the Indian men's junior hockey team gear up to face Belgium in their quarter-final, a repeat of the 2016 World Cup final where India edged past Belgium, the advantage and the momentum would lie with the young Indian brigade.
Speaking to journalists, Araijeet Singh said past results and history do not matter at such a stage and added that the entire team's focus is on winning the match by playing better than their opponents. The young striker, playing in his first international tournament for India, was overjoyed after representing the country. He said:
"It has been very special, no doubt. Playing at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium was always a dream. I feel we took our first match a bit too lightly but have learnt from our mistake. But now, we are fully charged up for the quarter-finals against Belgium. We had a meeting of strikers and we know that even one small mistake or even a second of a drop in energy will cost us dearly against Belgium. We are totally focused on bringing our 'A' game against them."
Araijeet Singh and dragflicking
Araijeet Singh's dragflicks have also been the cynosure of all eyes and the young striker takes inspiration from the Indian men's senior team's dragflicker Varun Kumar.
Araijeet Singh had a conversation with Varun Kumar about the nuances of dragflicking and said the meeting has had a telling effect on his game. He said:
"Varun told me to keep my head up and look more confident while taking the dragflick. Another crucial piece of advice the seniors gave me was to study the opponent goalkeeper's weaknesses. During the lockdown, our coach, BJ Kariappa, would also share a lot of videos of senior team's dragflickers on our Whatsapp group so we could study their movement and implement necessary basic changes to our style. I feel all these factors have helped a lot."