New Delhi: What do you do in a do-or-die situation? Take the initiative and give it all. That is exactly what the India goalkeeper Bharat Chetri did against England in the semi-final on Tuesday. We had to win, come what may. I just did my part, said the hockey hero modestly to The Telegraph on Wednesday afternoon.
The 28-year-old, the sole representative of eastern India in the 16-member CWG squad, played a major role in Indias 8-7 (via tie-breaker) win. He saved Englishman Glenn Kirkams attempt which ultimately proved to be the decider.
We are a team, not individuals, said Bharat, who represents Services in the domestic circuit and Bangalore Lions in the Premier Hockey League. Any mistakes I make, or any other teammate makes, we all sit together, like a team, and discuss the problem.
In football, it is said that, during a penalty its the goalkeeper who calls the shot.
Is it similar for a hockey goalie? I dont think so. In some matches, maybe, there is less tension. But, in a big match, a goalkeeper also is under pressure. Goalkeepers have to make sure the team wins as the responsibility lies in their hands during penalties. Of course, there is tension. But, its a very normal feeling. After all, we practice all our lives to perform at the international stage, Bharat said.
Son of an Army officer, Bharat was born in Salbari near Siliguri. However, he learnt the rudiments at the Danapur Army School before joining the Sports Authority of Indias (SAI) Centre of Excellence in Bangalore in 1998. Bharat was overlooked during the Olympic qualifier against Chile but was recalled to the squad during Indias tour to Europe, in July, this year.
Former India goalkeeper Ashish Ballal is Bharats idol. Hes a very good friend. He always helps me. He also gave me a few tips before the semi-final, which proved very useful, said Bharat, whose phone hasnt stopped ringing since Tuesday night. I celebrated the win talking to my folks and friends back home.
Next up for team India the world champions, Australia. The Jamie Dwyer-led team will never allow the Indians to grab the gold, which they have won in the past three editions, easily.
They are a very good side. We will have to play really well if we want to win the gold, Bharat said.
Well, given the form the Indians are in at present, Aussies will ignore the hosts at their own peril.