PR Sreejesh had to fly back home from Hockey World Cup 2018 action in Bhubaneshwar to check up on his ailing father, PV Raveendran who has been hospitalised due to a heart problem.
Sreejesh’s departure comes at a time when the national hockey team, under coach Harendra Singh, are preparing for their final Pool C game against Canada, scheduled for December 8.
Nonetheless, the seasoned goalkeeper, who has been brilliant between the sticks in the ongoing global spectacle, will return to Bhubaneswar from Kerala before the Canada tie. In fact, the star player from Thiruvananthapuram will join the Indian camp as early as on Wednesday night, according to The Times of India.
Sreejesh missed the training session on Wednesday morning and was also absent from a felicitation meet organised by Odisha Police at the Fan Park at the Kalinga Stadium, which has been hosting the Hockey World Cup matches.
Coach Harendra said Sreejesh was allowed to leave the Indian camp as there was a big gap between their second Pool C match against Belgium and the one against Canada. Notably, the fifth-ranked team came up with an inspired performance during their 2-2 draw against higher-ranked Red Lions on December 2.
India are favourites to top the four-team pool and secure a direct quarter-final berth as consolidated their numero uno position after the stiff test against Belgium. Harendra’s men are tied on points with Belgium but are the Pool C toppers as they have a better goal difference than the highest ranked team in the group.
While India are expected to win their match against Canada, Belgium will face South Africa, who were blanked 5-0 by the hosts in their opener, on December 8.