Australia’s World Cup winning hockey goalkeeper George Bazeley feels Indian custodian P.R. Sreejesh’s best is yet to come since goalkeepers are late bloomers.
The 30-year-old Bazeley, who plays for Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey India League (HIL), is impressed with the standard of Indian goalkeepers and also picked young Harjot Singh of Kalinga Lancers as a future prospect for Indian hockey.
“Sreejesh is undoubtedly outstanding. I have seen him play for a number of years and have seen him train as well. He is really good. They (India) wouldn’t have picked him if he was not really up there,” Bazeley told IANS in an interview.
The Victorian, who was part of the World Cup winning Kookaburras here in 2010, said goalkeepers tend to mature late and India should be persistent with the youngsters.
“One of the most important things with goalkeepers is that you cannot be impatient with them. Goalkeepers do not start to mature until they are much older. Like I am 30. Sreejesh is still young. He is only 25-years-old and in terms of goalkeeping, he has been around for quite a while,” said Bazeley, who was also part of the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal winning Australian team.
The Australian cited the example of Dutch Jaap Stockmann, silver medallist in the 2012 London Olympics, saying that goalkeepers generally hit their peak around 30.
“Sreejesh won’t hit his peak until he is 30. Take Jaap Stockmann for example, he is 29-years-old and he is starting to hit his peak now. Now he is really dominant in the goal. Give Sreejesh his time and he will come out really good,” said Bazeley, who describes himself as “Made in Melbourne” on his Twitter profile.
Bazeley, who made his debut in 2009, also hailed 20-year-old Lancers goalkeeper Harjot, who recently participated in the Junior World Cup here in December.
“Harjot has played well. He is getting opportunities and is taking his chances. So best of luck to him. He did well at the Junior World Cup. Though he was unlucky at times, he is a prospect coming through. I am sure there are many more talented goalkeepers in India,” added Bazeley.
The Aussie is also quite impressed with the goalkeeping standards at the ongoing HIL.
“I think the goalkeeping standards have been outstanding in HIL because you have the best goalkeepers of the world playing here. You get to see the best 5-6 goalkeepers in the world here. What can get better than that!” added Bazeley.
Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Australian Magazine)