Former India goalkeeper is hoping to claw his way back into the national team through World Series Hockey
The inaugural franchise-based World Series Hockey is not even half as important to any other player as it is to goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza. Having manned India's goalpost successfully and consistently since his 2004 debut, D'Souza was at one stage even touted as one of the world's best men under the the bar, before he was unceremoniously asked to leave the national camp earlier this year and finds himself nowhere near the national team's scheme of things since.
Goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza during World Series Hockey's draft ceremony
yesterday. Pics/Suresh KK
"What hurt me most was that I was not even given any reason for not being picked. Till today I don't know why I was asked to leave because I was in form and fit. But I think now is the time for me to prove myself and the WSH is the perfect place for me to do so," the 27-year-old captain of WSH's Mumbai franchise told
MiD DAY during the draft ceremony to select players for the eight franchises yesterday.
India chief coach Michael Nobbs has made it very clear that performance alone is what determines the composition of Team India and D'Souza hopes to impress him with a good show at WSH and subsequently earn a call up for the all-important Olympic Qualifiers to be played in Delhi early next year.
"I've been very passionate about hockey and my country, but I must admit that despite working hard when things don't go your way, you can get a bit desperate. I've played just one Olympics till date (Athens 2004, where India finished 7th) and thereafter we failed to make the Beijing Games (2008).
So, obviously I am very keen to board that London flight," added D'Souza, spelling out his plan of action: "The WSH will have some of the world's topmost players in it and if I do well here I should rightfully earn my place in the core group of the Indian team. But I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. Yes, I have a point to prove and I will do it with a smile on my face," he signed off.