The next few months will be quite crucial for the Indian Men's Hockey Team, who are preparing for a home World Cup when the FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 comes to town in January.
Among those keenly eyeing the big stage is young Abhishek, who, if selected would have the honour of making his Senior World Cup debut at home.
"I have not played a high level like the World Cup before, and I know there will be many fans, providing us with a lot of support in our home ground. I hope that I can make my World Cup debut in January and I hope to make it a pleasant memory as well."
"It will be a lot of fun in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela at the FIH Hockey World Cup 2023. The crowds are brilliant, and I hope to experience it," said Abhishek in an official release.
Abhishek, the young forward, got his first taste of success with the Indian Men's Hockey Team when they bagged the Silver medal at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
"Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was my first medal in the senior team. After we got the medal, my relatives and neighbours all had visited my house and family. The media also came, all of which made my family feel very happy. I felt great on winning my first medal in my first tournament," recalled Abhishek.
Calm and collected in possession, Abhishek is similarly clear about his ambitions and the check boxes he puts on his to-do list. Up next is cementing his place in the Indian Men's Hockey Team, and then ensuring selection for the big day in January.
"From the beginning, when I got called-up for the national team, all I wanted to do is that I make it to the core group of the team. I wanted to get set in the team and slowly I started targeting each tournament, wanting to make an impact on the team. In the beginning I just wanted to enter the 33-man squad. Now all I hope for is that I make it to the final squad for the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup 2023."
Abhishek, who hopes that India can finish on the podium at the FIH World Cup 2023, explained that fitness and strength are among the most important factors in ensuring a successful career at the highest level in the sport.
Before a potential World Cup debut in January, he has the chance to crank things up a few notches in the 2022-23 FIH Men's Hockey Pro League, when India host New Zealand and Spain for a total of six games in Bhubaneswar.
"The team is preparing well for the 2022-23 FIH Hockey Men's Pro League. Most things are concentrated around fitness and finishing ahead of the games against New Zealand and Spain," he signed off.
The Indian Men's Hockey Team have drawn England, Wales and Spain as their opponents in Group D of the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2023 in Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. The tournament will be played from January 13 to 29, 2023.