Hockey`s Yuvraj takes inspiration from cricketer Yuvraj

New Delhi: After making an impressive debut for the national team in the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy in China, Indian hockey`s new wonder kid Yuvraj Walmiki said he derives inspiration from his namesake and idol, cricketer Yuvraj Singh.

Walmiki sparkled in his debut match on Saturday, scoring a goal in India`s 5-0 thumping win over hosts China in their opening match of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos.

And the young striker from Mumbai hoped it was just the beginning of his career as he wants to emulate his idol on the hockey turf.

"Yuvraj is my favourite cricketer. I want to be very popular and successful like him. People should know that there is also one Yuvraj in Indian hockey as well," Walmiki said.

"I never had the opportunity to meet him (Yuvraj Singh) but I am his ardent fan. On his day he can change the course of the game single-handedly. He was also our hero in the World Cup. I want to contribute to Indian hockey as he did in cricket," said the 21-year-old forward.

But the road to the national team was not smooth sailing for Walmiki as he had to overcome hurdles from the very beginning.

He was part of the junior team`s camp for 13 times before securing a place in the senior side for the China tournament on the basis of his good performances in the National Championship in Bhopal earlier this year and training camp in Bangalore.

And for Walmiki the Asian Champions Trophy comes with an opportunity to showcase his talent in the absence of senior players like Shivendra Singh and Tushar Khandekar.

"I know that there is huge responsibility on my shoulders. This is a golden chance for me and I am hopeful of cementing my place in the team after this tournament," he Walmiki, who has been a prolific scorer for German club T G Frankenthal since joining them two years ago.

"When I started playing hockey the financial condition of my family was not sound. But hockey is my passion. My dream came true when I got selected in the national team. Now I am not thinking of anything else then good performance," added the youngster, who was a standby player in the Indian squad for the Junior World Cup in 2009.

Walmiki`s qualities with the hockey stick can be gauged from the fact he was the highest score for T G Frankenthal in the previous season, scoring 15 goals in nine matches.

He also thanked chief coach Michael Nobbs for giving him the opportunity to showcase his potential.

"He (Nobbs) is an understanding coach. He likes to give chance to youngsters. I am thankful to him for showing faith in me," said Walmiki, who started playing hockey at the age of 10.


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