PR Sreejesh feels Harendra Singh will help build a ‘homely atmosphere’

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PR Sreejesh feels Harendra Singh will help build a ‘homely atmosphere’

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SportsCafe Desk


PR Sreejesh, who is back as captain of the hockey team, has insisted that Indians players are more comfortable with an Indian coach and new coach Harendra Singh will help in building a ‘homely atmosphere’ in the team. Sreejesh believed that there would be no translation problems with the new coach.

Sjoerd Marijne, who took over the reins from Dutchman Roelant Oltmans as the coach of the Indian men’s hockey team, was sacked after the blip at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the no-medal show at the Commonwealth Games. Now, Harendra Singh has been appointed as the coach of the team, but it has drawn criticism from the former players who have asked the association why the decision was taken so late. Harendra Singh is the first Indian coach in 10 years.  

“This decision [Harendra’s appointment] should have been taken when Oltmans was sacked and not now,” hockey legend Danraj Pillay had told The Field. “Indian players are comfortable with Indian coaches.”

On Tuesday, the theory got the approval PR Sreejesh, who’s back as the team captain. Sreejesh insisted that Indian coaches help build a ‘homely atmosphere’ in the team. 

“If you are in a hostel, you might find it tough to adjust to the atmosphere but when you are coming home, even if you get sambar rice, you are happy with that. You’ll like the homely atmosphere. That’s what we are feeling now,” Sreejesh said as quoted by

Asked to compare Marijne and Harendra, the Indian captain exemplified using food once more. “Sir (Harendra) eats dal chawal and he (Marijne) eats a lot of cheese,” he said.

Translation has been one of the major problems of the Indian team with foreign coaches. This was one of the reasons that Hockey India’s high performance director David John had mentioned for replacing Marijne with Harendra. 

“There’s always some communication problem. English to Hindi can be an issue. That’s not an excuse (for the medal-less show at Gold Coast). But Harendra will deliver the message in the required language to the players,” he had said.

Sreejesh agreed to the statement of the David John and said, “Yeah, there is no need of translation. Any player, even if it’s a junior, can go directly to the coach and discuss things.”

Sreejesh also pointed out that players feel more comfortable with an Indian coach. And, this comfort might be a by-product of the language. 

“Everyone feels free to discuss things. That’s the first step in the process of improving as a team. So, from the last month, everyone is going forward, getting videos of themselves and discussing things,” he added. 

Most of the players in the current hockey squad have, at some point in their careers, been coached by Harendra. So the problem of getting adjusted to a new coach with three major tournaments coming up this year won’t arise for the team. Harendra, too, stated that he doesn’t need more time to get the Indian men ready to win the gold at the Asian Games as he has kept a close eye on the setup of the team for quite some time now.  

“I need time only when I don’t know the culture of the country, communication, the player behaviour, the player mindset and their background. But I have been close to the hockey setup for a long time now,” he said.

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