Hope to make World Cup debut in Odisha in January, says Abhishek

Abhishek’s first medal with the Indian Men’s Hockey Team came in Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Bengaluru: The next few months will be quite crucial for the Indian Men’s Hockey Team, who are preparing for a home World Cup when the FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 comes to town in January. Among those keenly eyeing the big stage is young Abhishek, who, if selected would have the honour of making his Senior World Cup debut at home.

Speaking about his potential debut at one of the biggest stages of all, Abhishek said, “I have not played a high level like the World Cup before, and I know there will be many fans, providing us with a lot of support in our home ground. I hope that I can make my World Cup debut in January and I hope to make it a pleasant memory as well. It will be a lot of fun in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela at the FIH Hockey World Cup 2023. The crowds are brilliant, and I hope to experience it.”

The young forward got his first taste of success with the Indian Men’s Hockey Team when they bagged the Silver medal at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Reflecting on a special moment in his career, Abhishek said, “Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was my first medal in the senior team. After we got the medal, my relatives and neighbours all had visited my house and family. The media also came, all of which made my family feel very happy. I felt great on winning my first medal in my first tournament.”

Calm and collected in possession, Abhishek is similarly clear about his ambitions and the check boxes he puts on his to-do list. And up next are cementing his place in the Indian Men’s Hockey Team, and then ensuring selection for the big day in January.

From the beginning, when I got called-up for the national team, all I wanted to do is that I make it to the core group of the team. I wanted to get set in the team and slowly I started targeting each tournament, wanting to make an impact on the team. In the beginning I just wanted to enter the 33-man squad. Now all I hope for is that I make it to the final squad for the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023.”

Abhishek, who hopes that India can finish on the podium at the FIH World Cup 2023, explained that fitness and strength are among the most important factors in ensuring a successful career at the highest level in the sport. And before a potential World Cup debut in January, he has the chance to crank things up a few notches in the 2022-23 FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League, when India host New Zealand and Spain for a total of six games in Bhubaneswar.

“The team is preparing well for the 2022-23 FIH Hockey Men’s Pro League. Most things are concentrated around fitness and finishing ahead of the games against New Zealand and Spain,” he signed off.

The Indian Men’s Hockey Team have drawn England, Wales and Spain as their opponents in Group D of the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. The tournament will be played from 13 to 29 January, 2023.

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