Indian hockey team's goalkeeper P R Sreejesh recalled the day when he played the Celebrity Classico football match with top Indian sports personalities like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Sunil Chhetri. He said that none of the players dared to play hockey, but P R Sreejesh agreed to keep in their football match.
In a live chat with Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda's Facebook Page, P R Sreejesh shared the details of how he practiced for hours to perfect the art of goalkeeping on the hockey field. The Kerala-based player also narrated an incident when he could not control his hockey goalie instincts while playing a football game.
'I need training': P R Sreejesh recalls how he got confused while keeping in a football match
In P R Sreejesh's view, cricket and football were two sports that an individual could play without much practice. However, to play hockey, an individual required specialized skills. P R Sreejesh opined that none of the cricket or football stars had had a training session with him for the same reason.
Later, he told a story involving Indian cricket stars Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri. While Chhetri has achieved much success at the international level, Kohli and Dhoni are also passionate football fans who love to play the game.
In an exhibition game between All Hearts and All-Stars teams, Sunil Chhetri coached P R Sreejesh's team. All-Stars' striker and Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor managed to score a goal into the top-left corner with ease, and later MS Dhoni asked P R Sreejesh what he was doing there.
The Indian hockey star then pointed out that there was a significant difference between the goalposts of hockey and football.
"You won't even believe what Dhoni Bhai said during that time. I joined them on that match day, and what he said is 'You don't need to worry about those four yards (hockey goalkeeping area); you worry about the longer one.' Ranbir (Ranbir Kapoor) hit a goal against me, and he hit it on the top. Unfortunately, it was a football goal post, and the football goal post is huge. He came and said 'Sree!' and I replied that I was confused. He understood and said 'Okay, it's fine," P R Sreejesh said.
P R Sreejesh signed off by revealing that Sunil Chhetri advised him to catch the ball. However, his hockey instincts only prompted him to punch the ball and kick it on some occasions.Published 29 Jul 2020, 01:24 IST