Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Indian hockey team’s goalkeeping coach, Dennis van de Pol believes that promising goalkeeper Krishan Pathak has matured a lot and he is ready to take the mantle of goalkeeping from the legendary PR Sreejesh.

As per Dennis, Pathak is ready for the toughest job when Sreejesh decides to take retirement from the game.

Twenty-five-year-old Pathak was Sreejesh’s back up in the Tokyo Olympics where India won a historic bronze medal. India’s coach Graham Ried has been altering both the goalkeepers in each quarters and Pathak has done a good job for the team. Pathak has since become a regular for the Men in Blue.

Sreejesh has taken the all-important responsibility of goalkeeping on his shoulders for more than 16 years. He is now at the fag end of his career at the age of 34.

“Pathak is junior to Sreejesh. But he has a lot of exposure in big matches. So he is the guy for the future. By the time Sreejesh stops, Krishan will still be a young guy with a lot of experience,” said Dennis.

“It’s not only goalkeeping that has evolved over the years but the game itself has evolved a lot. Hockey has got a lot faster and most of the teams are able to do quick counters. People are getting so much stronger and fitter and you need to be able to adapt to that,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sreejesh has hailed Reid’s decision to rotate him and Pathak during the matches in ongoing Hockey World Cup 2023.

“Me and Pathak wanted to prepare together for the next stages of the marquee event. If anytime, anything happens to one of the two goalkeepers, the other will have to be on his toes. So, that is a good strategy,” said Sreejesh.