Hockey World Cup: Hockey did not leave me orphaned, says Krishna Pathak

Updated: Dec 11, 2018, 11:40 IST | Ashwin Ferro | Bhubaneswar

India 'keeper Krishan Pathak, who lost his parents at a young age, reveals how the sport helped him; says dad would've been proud of his W Cup selection

India's Krishan Pathak at Kalinga Stadium recently. Pic/Ashwin Ferro
India's Krishan Pathak at Kalinga Stadium recently. Pic/Ashwin Ferro

The biggest motivation for a young achiever is his parents and the biggest reward is their blessing. Unfortunately, India goalkeeper Krishan Pathak has been devoid of both these privileges as his parents passed away when he was quite young.

Mother Tej Kumari suffered a massive heart attack when he was just 12 (in 2009) as did his dad Tegh Bahadur, just a few months before Pathak brilliantly manned the post in India's 2016 Junior World Cup win at Lucknow.

Encouraging father
"My father always encouraged me to play hockey and enjoyed watching some of my age group matches, but he never got to see me on the biggest stage. In 2016, he was happy when I went on a tour to Russia with the Junior India team. I went on a London tour too the same year, but two days before I was scheduled to leave, he passed away. I missed him a lot after we won the Junior World Cup. I had no one to go home to with the trophy," Pathak told mid-day after a training session at Kalinga Stadium here.

Hailing from a very poor background after the family migrated from Nepal to Punjab when he was a kid, hockey has ensured Pathak leads a respectable life. "My father did not have a big job and there have been times when I have worked on daily wages too. But hockey has ensured that I do not lead the life of a helpless orphan.

A six-year-old Krishan Pathak with his departed mother Tej Kumari and late father Tegh Bahadur. This is the only picture he has with his parents
A six-year-old Krishan Pathak with his departed mother Tej Kumari and late father Tegh Bahadur. This is the only picture he has with his parents

"I live with my uncle [father's younger brother Chander Bahadur] in Jalandhar where I'm employed as a Sports Officer with Indian Oil. God has been kind. After playing in the junior team for two years, in my first year with the senior team, I have been picked for four tournaments [Sultan Azlan Shah, Asian Games, Asian Champions Trophy and the World Cup]," said Pathak, 21, who honed his skills at Jalandhar's Surjit Singh Academy.

Ready for action
Being the team's second or reserve goalkeeper, Pathak hasn't played even for one second at this World Cup yet, but realises that his services may be needed any moment. "It's my job to keep myself motivated on the sidelines and I do it by constantly chatting with my teammates. It keeps me pumped up and I feel that I'm also part of the game. I don't wish that Sree bhai [veteran custodian PR Sreejesh] gets injured because he is doing well for the team, but be it for five minutes or 50 minutes, I'm ready to enter the field anytime. Pressure is not a factor because I have played at the Junior World Cup in front of full houses in Lucknow and won," said Pathak, who performs a fixed ritual before every match.

"My parents passed away suddenly and I don't have too many pictures of me with them. I have one which was taken when I was just six years old. I look at that picture before every match and ask my parents to bless me. When I used to play hockey while my father was around, he used to always say that he never gets to see me because I'm always out playing. Now, I'm still playing and I can't see him," Pathak said as he headed to the team bus.

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