Yuvraj Walmiki eyes 'short-cut' return to Team India
Hockey forward Yuvraj Walmiki, who has been out of the Indian team for over a year now, is excited at the prospect of taking a 'short-cut' to return to Team India
Yuvraj Walmiki holds the trophy after Maharashtra won the first Hockey India five-a-side Senior Nationals at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune recently
Hockey forward Yuvraj Walmiki, who has been out of the Indian team for over a year now, is excited at the prospect of taking a 'short-cut' to return to Team India.
Walmiki, who scored over a dozen goals as Maharashtra won the first Hockey India five-a-side Senior National title at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune recently, is hoping to make it to the five-a-side India team, names for which have been shortlisted by Hockey India.
"It will be great if I can make it to the five-a-side Indian team. I love this brand of hockey and enjoyed playing in Balewadi. It's the shortest version of the game, and for me, the sweetest," Walmiki told mid-day yesterday.
The Maharashtra team comprising Vikram Pillay (captain), Adrian D'Souza (GK), Girish Pimpale, Amit Gowda, Vikram Jadhav, Rajat Sharma, Abhung Singh, Kunal Jagdale and Walmiki beat Haryana 7-6 in a keenly contested final on Sunday to win the eight-team tournament that saw each match lasting 30 minutes (divided into three 10-minute periods) and played across a 38.5x22.5m vinyl-surfaced indoor hall.
Hockey India chairman of selectors BP Govinda was specifically sent to Balewadi to shortlist a pool of players from which the Indian team will be picked. And Maharashtra coach and former India goalkeeper Edgar Mascarenhas Jr believes Walmiki fits the bill perfectly.
"At the start of the tournament people felt that we do not have the legs to last this quick-paced version of hockey, but they didn't realise that our brains would make up for any deficit.
Players like Vikram, Girish, Adrian and Yuvraj are fine thinkers of the game. Adrian was bold at the back, while Vikram and Girish were extremely creative with their passes, and Yuvraj of course was brilliant as the tournament's top finisher," said Mascarenhas Jr.
Walmiki however, doesn't want to be restricted to one format and is also keen to rub shoulders with his younger brother Devindar (24), a regular in the current Indian team.
"The five-a-side version is like cricket's T20, while 11-a-side hockey is like Test cricket — the real test, and I hope to eventually make it there," he signed off.
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