A ‘versatile’ and ‘speedy’ Gurbaj Singh will be key to the Indian hockey team's success in the upcoming 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia, feels the national side's vice-captain and goalkeeper P R Sreejesh.
Sreejesh was all praise for Gurbaj's ability to play in the defence as well as make swift moves upfront.
"He (Gurbaj) is growing with every game. I was amazed to see him in the recent Hockey India League. The way he defended and counter-attacked was amazing. His speed is the key which helps him to go forward and come back to the defence line in a short span of time. His versatile ability will be a boost to our defence as well as strikers in the upcoming tournament," Sreejesh said.
India will play alongside Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Canada and hosts Malaysia in the Azlan Shah Cup to be held from April 5-12.
The Sardar Singh-led Indian team will open its campaign against Korea on April 5.
Talking about their tournament opener against Korea, Sreejesh said: "We met Korea last in the semi-final of the Asian Games. Although we had won that match we cannot do away with the fact that they are a very competitive and strong team with a good line of attack.
"To counter them we will have to be strong in all aspects of the game, with clear focus on trying to cash in on penalty corners. For me, I know they will try every possible way to sneak goals and I am up for the challenge. For sure we will want to start the tournament with a win."
Image: Gurbaj Singh
Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images