The FIH Hockey World Cup will unfold a lot of new stories for the young players all over the globe. SImilarly India’s young forward Abhishek is also excited but also a little nervous as he looks to make a mark for at the big stage at home. It is a chance for the youngster to be the hero that hardly anyone expects him to be. But these are tournaments where new heroes are forged so Abhishek will be keen to prove his point whenever coach Graham Reid sends him out with a task.
Teh 23-year-old made his debut for India last season at the Pro League as he stated that playing for India was a dream come true for him. The young forward reveals that he is very excited and nervous at the same time to play in front of the home fans for the first time.
“There is a lot of excitement, but at the same time, I am a bit nervous too. This will not only be my first World Cup, but also my first experience playing in front of a huge crowd. People of Odisha are very passionate about hockey, and it will be a great experience for me to play in front of them,” Abhishek stated.
Hailing from Snoepat, Abhishek’s hockey career began at the age of 11 when he saw his friends playing the sport in school. Son of an army man, he trained under coach and school teacher Shamsher Singh. Abhishek represented Haryana in the national championship and following his exceptional performance for the state team he was called up for the junior camp.
“After starting from my school, I got selected in the National Hockey Academy, Delhi, and after playing for Haryana in the national championships between 2013-2015, I earned my call-up for the Junior Camp,” he reminisced.
He was a part of the U18 Asian Cup in 2016 in Bangladesh as he scored the winning goal in the final against the hosts in India’s 5-4 win. But he failed to make the progress and was dropped from the junior camp.
“I missed out on making the 2016 Junior World Cup squad as I was relatively young, and was dropped from the junior national camp. It was a big disappointment for me,” he revealed.
Abhishek toiled hard for three years and after delivering consistent performances for his departmental team, Punjab National Bank. His department team finished third at the 1st Hockey India Senior Men Inter-Department National Championship 2021 and he scored six goals and finished the tournament as the second highest goalscorer.
“Those three years were challenging for me, but my coach and the department supported me throughout. They helped me bounce back from that tough phase. And after having a good domestic season in 2021, I was confident of getting selected for the core problems,” Abhishek said.
Abhishek was an integral part of the Indian team that finished third in the Hockey Pro League in 2021 and won the silver medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The youngster revealed that his family is expecting a medal from the Indian team following their exploits at the Commonwealth Games.
“After the Commonwealth Games, my family is now hopeful of a medal at the World Cup. The whole country is hoping for that. I believe we are fully prepared for the challenge and we will give our best to make our country proud,” he concluded.