Indian hockey captain PR Sreejesh has assured that the team will give their all to beat Pakistan in the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy in Malaysia next month. Sreejesh insists that they do not want to disappoint the Indian soldiers who have sacrificed so much at the border by losing to Pakistan.
"India-Pakistan match brings a lot of excitement to the table. We want to give hundred per cent. We don't want to disappoint our soldiers by losing, especially when they sacrifice their lives in the exchange of fire at the borders," Sreejesh said, reported PTI.
Political tensions between India and Pakistan after the recent terrorist attack in Uri have left an impression on sports as well. While the BCCI has recently ruled out the possibility of playing Pakistan in a bilateral series, the Indian hockey team appears to have drawn extra motivation from the incident to defeat a Pakistan side who, according to Sreejesh, are playing a 'lower-grade' hockey at the moment.
"They are now playing totally a lower-grade hockey. That is what I feel. But they (Pakistan) have a strong mental attitude. They can beat any team
"We are better placed than Pakistan as we have been playing against top teams around the world. Pakistan, on the other hand, failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in their history," Sreejesh added.
The tournament makes a comeback after a hiatus of two years in 2014 and 2015 with Pakistan looking to defend the title they won in the 2013 edition defeating India. Even before that, India and Pakistan have faced each other in the final of the tournament twice, in the opening two editions in 2011 and 2012 with both splitting the honors across the years. However, Sreejesh is not taking the other contestants lightly. He said, "We cannot say that Asian Champions Trophy is that easy a contest. The Koreans are in the process of developing their team. Malaysia is working towards getting noticed at international level.”
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