Abhishek is the newest face in the Indian men’s hockey team forwardline. The 21-year-old youngster from Sonepat was rewarded with a national team call-up for the upcoming FIH Pro Hockey League matches against South Africa and France to be played in South Africa. Abhishek forced his way into the national side following a plethora of impressive performances in various domestic tournamenents such as Surjit Hockey Tourney, Lal Bahadur Shastri Tourney, Senior Nehru Hockey Tourney, Chhaju Ram Memorial Senior Men’s Hockey Tournament as well as the 1st Hockey India Senior Men Inter-Department National Championship while representing Punjab National Bank.
Abhishek was instrumental in the bankmen reaching the semifinals of as many as five domestic tourneys. He grabbed the spotlight of Hockey India selectors in the first-ever Inter-Department National Championship, where he was in his elements, not only goal-scoring opportunites but also scoring on a regular basis. Abhishek scored a brace in Punjab National Bank’s 6-2 win over All India Police Sports Control Board as well as a brace in their fighting 3-4 semifinal defeat to Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) in the Inter-Department Nationals.
Punjab National Bank’s Dronacharya awardee coach Romesh Pathania, who has seen Abhishek from close quarters, is excited to see his ward make the national cut. “Abhishek is a hard-working lad and very disciplined. His performances in domestic tournaments caught the attention of the selectors. Speed is his forte and he will serve the the Indian forwardline well,” he says.
Abhishek has been playing for Punjab National Bank since 2018. He is the third Punjab National Bank player to feature in the Indian team in recent times after Olympian Shamsher Singh and Mandeep Mor, who is among the standbys for the FIH Pro Hockey League.
Indian forwardline is packed with flair with the likes of the experienced duo of Akashdeep Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay as well as young turks such as Mandeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra and Dilpreet Singh. Abhishek will have to make a big impression to cement his place in the national side amidst fierce competition for places. “There is no doubt that there is a lot of competition in the forwardline but Abhishek has the game to serve Indian hockey for a long time,” quips Pathania.