Just an ordinary guy with a big dream. I belong to a modest family from Mithapur, currently plying for Indian National Hockey team and Ranchi Rays for the upcoming season of HIL. I’m employed by Bharat Petroleum since 2014. Slowly but surely making my mark on international hockey and today I have played over 135 caps, I start playing for junior and senior team since 2009. It’s quite a journey since the junior India days and now I’m part of the Asian Games gold medal winning team. When I was handed the India captaincy at junior level it changed both me and my family. Everything I’m today I owned it to my coaches, family and fiancé for their never ending support and believing in me since day one.
Do you have a nickname?
Yes, they called me Korean
When and how did you start playing Hockey?
I start playing hockey in 2002, I was 10 years old when my brothers Amandeep and Sukhraj Singh locked me in our house at Mithapur. They were afraid that I will hurt and injury myself while playing hockey coz I was the favourite in the family and hockey is a very physical sport. But I’m so passion about hockey, I put on my jersey and went to the terrace jumped to the adjoining house and ran back to the ground back in 30 minutes. They are stunned but that the day they understood my love for the game.
Who are or were your idols growing up?
As for hockey when I’m small my idol was Pargat Singh and as I grown up my idol is Moritz Fuerste during 2006 World Cup it change my perception. As for life purpose and inspiration my idol is David Beckham and Ronaldo.
You are recognized as one of the most outstanding players in the game. At this moment, individually speaking what are your ambitions?
Obviously I would like to be the best player in the world and hold that title to inspire other especially the youngsters and people from my background, I also would like to be like Moritz Fuerste… Working really hard towards it!
How would you describe yourself as player?
I’m really passionate about hockey for me hockey is everything. When I’m on the turf nothing else matter beside the game, you can see mostly I will give my stern face but that’s only on the turf outside personally I’m a happy go lucky person. I’m very dedicated to my career, I give 100% for it, strict and will try to learn as much as I can from other world class player in order to improve my game and I too motivated the juniors regrading their games
Your thoughest opponent?
Australia because they are an aggressive and have the most fitness player in the team
Would you consider the experience of playing in a European top club?
A big yes for that, any team would like to offer me? *giggle* all the European top club are very good and their basic are so strong. I will learn a lot of things from the club which will improve my performance 90%
The international community is always very excited when there are events or hockey tournaments in India, what makes the country so special, so fanatic about hockey
Well in India has always been about cricket so when there is an International hockey tournament people get really excited about it. The crowd and fans at every venue are amazing comparing to any other country, we have our own style in supporting the team.. You know with the dance & music!
You try to keep a direct communication with your fans in the social media by replying to them very often. Are the indian fans more passionate than the others?
Yes, they are. Honestly they are really fanatic, their well wishes and supports are very important for all the players, I try my best to reply to all of them during my free time.
How is India preparing for Rio? What are your expectations?
We are exposing ourselves with lots of tour or test matches with all the top team for a better learning experiences and what to expect from them. Recently we just finished our test series in New Zealand with a winning note and that’s something to start with. It boost the team confidence in facing the top team. We are doing a lot of practice on area that to be improve from time to time and upcoming important tournament will be HWL final in Raipur.
My expectation is to try our level best to finish on a good spot in RIO but if we end up at the podium that will be a plus point and something that I will never forget in my career.
What would you change in the sport, how would you like to see hockey heading as global sport?
I would love to see hockey to be at the top level in the world after football
Wishes for the future?
Fingers crossed that I get to hold the gold medal in Olympic and World Cup, being a better person, improve my skills and gain lots of knowledge as I could