Sardar Singh looks towards Jamie Dwyer for inspiration

Sardar Singh looks towards Jamie Dwyer for inspiration

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Ex-India captain Sardar Singh has said that he draws inspiration from Aussie hockey legend, Jamie Dwyer, who played on till 36, as he enters the twilight of an illustrious career. The 30-year-old said that his main aim now was to be physically and mentally fit for the 2018 men's WC hosted by India.

"This year's HIL will be crucial for me as I can assess where I stand and what I need to do to improve my game further. I am inspired by players like Jamie Dwyer who stayed on top of his game till he was 35-36. So, I don't think age is a concern," Sardar told PTI in an interview.

"My target is to stay fit physically and mentally till the 2018 men's World Cup in India. I want to be on top of my game at the HIL and ensure a good start to the year."

The Indian national team was last seen in action during the tour to Australia in November and has since enjoyed a long 45-day break. Sardar said that the rest had done him a world of good as it had given him time to assess his priorities.

"I think this has been the longest break we have got in a while. After a hectic year, with the 2016 Rio Olympics, this break was personally very good for me as it helped me relax my mind, spend some time with the family and also work on my fitness," Sardar explained.

"This break has helped me introspect my game and how I want to shape my career going forward. Presently, my first aim is to make the probables list for the national camp in March."

The Padma Shri winner's next task is to lead a title defence for the Punjab Warriors in the Hockey India League. When asked about his team's chances of retaining the league, Sardar sounded confident and explained that the retention of a similar squad meant that they would be one of the favourites for the title. 

"On paper I think we have the best team and haven't subjected to many chances like other teams. We are the same team including the coaching staff from last year, so we understand each other better. But it's important to start the tournament with a win and carry on the momentum. I think the week-long camp before our first match will help the team come together as one unit," he said.

Punjab Warriors will start their campaign against Dabang Mumbai on January 27 in Mumbai.

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