Bengaluru, Oct 12: Young India midfielder Pawan Rajbhar is looking forward to getting an opportunity to play in the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Spain and New Zealand to build on his experience of competing in Asia Cup 2022 in Jakarta earlier this year, where the newcomer impressed with his speed and the team bagged bronze.
Rajbhar was recently included in Hockey India’s core probable group for the national coaching camp, which started on October 3 to prepare for the Pro League 2022/2023 season opener in Bhubaneswar.
“I hope I get a chance to play in the Pro League and test myself against strong teams. I will continue to work hard and hopefully earn an opportunity for myself soon,” said Rajbhar ahead of the games against Spain and New Zealand, which are set to take place between October 28 and November 6.
Speaking about his experiences of playing in the Asia Cup, where the Indian team led by Birendra Lakra won the bronze, Pawan said that it was a memorable moment for him to don the Indian jersey for the first time.
“Getting the jersey for the first time was a proud moment for me. It was always my dream to play for India. I felt a lot of pressure on me in the first two games of being on television and being watched by hockey fans around the world. But after the first two games, my nerves settled down and I started enjoying myself,” the 24-year-old said.
Pawan had a good showing in the tournament as he scored four goals, and was also named the ‘Player of the Match’ twice against Indonesia and Malaysia.
“It was a great pleasure for me to work under the guidance of Birendra Lakra and coach Sardar Singh, who are both legends of the game. They helped me and gave me advice on how to deal with pressure. Once I was able to play freely, I was able to perform well. Getting my first goal in the Indian jersey is an unforgettable moment for me as my parents saw me scoring on television,” Pawan added.
Pawan, who hails from Karampur district of Uttar Pradesh, is excited to be a part of the national camp at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru, as he believes he will get to learn from the best Indian players.
“I am really keen to attend the national camp and do well there. It will definitely be a learning experience for me to train alongside the senior Indian players, who have performed so well for so long,” Pawan, who is currently competing for Uttar Pradesh at the National Games, said.