The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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An honour to be dubbed future Pillay: Prabhjot

Calcutta: It’s difficult to match the wizardry of Dhanraj Pillay, but one player who has been built up to be his successor is Prabhjot Singh. The 23-year Indian Oil forward who has been lighting up even the uneven grass turfs of the city in the Beighton Cup, paid his tribute to the ‘great’ Pillay.

“It’s a great experience. I have picked up a lot playing with him at the national level,” Prabhjot said after the semi-final win at Mohun Bagan ground Tuesday.

He also informed that he owes a lot to Pillay. “He takes special care of me and gives me vital tips on dribbling,” Prabhjot added.

He hoped that the combination he has struck with Pillay should carry on. “It’s an honour to be billed as his successor, but I would love to play with him for some more time,” he said.

Another combination that has struck the imagination of the hockey connoisseurs is the Deepak Thakur-Prabhjot duo. “We are playing together since our academy days at Patiala. We have a very good understanding and hope it will carry on for a long time.”

Prabhjot was at the Patiala academy from 1996-99 after which he shifted to the Air India academy.

However, he shot to fame in the youth World Cup in 2001 in Sydney which India won beating Argentina in the final.

However, Prabhjot doesn’t rate the win in the World Cup as the greatest moment of his career. “The win against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy last year has been the real highlight of my international career so far,” he said. India won the match 3-2 with Prabhjot scoring the first goal.

“It feels like a fauji in the battlefield when you play Pakistan, and I’m lucky to feature in three wins against them.”

The lanky forward informed that he will be off to England in October this season to play in the domestic league there. “In fact, I had an offer last season, but IHF didn’t release me as I had to attend the national camp.”

He lamented missing out on most of India’s games in the Busan Asian Games following a leg injury. “After the first match, I had to drop out. Though I came back in the last game, it was far too late.”

However, he added that he is free from any injuries of late and looking forward to the future engagements.

India next play in a four-nation tournament in Australia in a couple of months’ time.

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