Goalkeepers who can replace PR Sreejesh in the coming future

At 34, PR Sreejesh is almost at the end of his career. He has been India’s no.1 goalkeeper for the past 16 years.

PR Sreejesh in a file photo (Image Credit: Twitter/@TheHockeyIndia)
By Pushkar Pandey | Mar 19, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

PR Sreejesh is one of the most accomplished goalkeepers in Indian Field Hockey. The 34-year-old has been able to secure his spot for a long period and has seen many goalkeepers come and go. His senior International debut came against Sri Lanka during the 2006 Asian Games and in that time, he competed against competitors like Bharat Chettri, Akash Chikte, Harjot Singh, Vikas Dahiya, and Suraj Karkera. None of the goalkeepers were able to replace Sreejesh. Till now, he has appeared 274 times for the National team. Since his debut, Sreejesh has featured in 10 major tournaments and has been the first-choice goalkeeper. His reliability and dependability between the posts have been talked about a lot. His experience and his efficiency cannot be questioned at all.

Sreejesh is undoubtedly a huge asset for team India. At 34, PR Sreejesh is almost at the end of his career, he has been India’s no.1 goalkeeper for the past 16 years. But once he calls it a day then who is going to replace him as the leading goalkeeper? Two names that have created a lot of buzz around the Indian hockey community are Krishan Bahadur Pathak and the other one is Pawan Malik who can replace Sreejesh. The goalies from the batch of India juniors are now in the senior group. And there are some good plans for them in the future.

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Goalkeepers who can be the possible replacements of PR Sreejesh

Krishan Bahadur Pathak

Krishan Pathak, the 25-year-old has impressed everyone with his recent performance. Pathak was standby to Sreejesh in the Tokyo Olympics, where India won a historic bronze medal. Post Olympics, they have shared goalkeeping responsibilities. He has been gaining a lot of experience as well since his debut in 2018. PR Sreejesh’s deputy Krishan Bahadur started as the second-choice goalie for India during their tour to New Zealand in 2018. But he finally made his debut in the same year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He was also in reserves during the tour to Australia, FIH Men’s Series Finals, and the World cup.

The 25-year-old Krishna had shown a brilliant performance during India’s tour to Belgium in 2019 and became a crucial member of the team in the FIH Series Finals and Olympic qualifiers. He has learned a lot from his seniors. Leadership, communicating on the field, and working in tough situations. Even when he doesn’t play, he cheers and motivates his teammates, and it shows how much he is in the game.

Pawan Malik

In the absence of Krishan Pathak who had taken leave for his wedding, Pawan emerged as a star for India. He appeared in all four matches and played a total of nine quarters, as an understudy to veteran PR Sreejesh. For a 21-year-old playing against World Champions Australia can be nerve-wracking, but Pawan was backed up by his team and seniors. He hails from Haryana and started playing hockey in 2010 from the ground in his hometown. He has been part of big events like the 2021 Junior World Cup and FIH events as well.

He was one of the standout performers for India in the FIH Pro League mini tournament against Germany and Australia. He has impressed everyone with his efforts till now and he is ready to learn and evolve more. Pawan outdid his performance against Australia on Monday. Most importantly, the newcomers on the side displayed a game and positioning sense that augurs well for the future. This young player understands the game very well and knows exactly what to do and when to do it.

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