With Aussie Tour in mind, Harbir hopes for smooth transition

On Wednesday morning, Harbir Singh was filled with emotions as the 22-year-old got ready to board the plan to Australia. The player is making debut in the Indian senior hockey team. One of the positives for him is coach Michael Nobbs has opted for a young side after the London Olympics debacle and Harbir seems to have a place in his scheme of things.

Before boarding the flight, Harbir spent some quality time with skipper Sardara Singh, something which he says he needs to do more often on the Australian Tour.

"It's my first senior tournament and I am excited about playing in the Lanco Series and the Champions Trophy. I had been attending the national camp for the last six months and spending time with the senior members in the camp have benefited me. I am happy with this opportunity and I am hopeful the Lanco Series will suit my game and I will be able to adjust to Australian conditions before the Champions Trophy," shared Harbir while talking with Sportline before leaving for Australia.

The six feet tall fullback took to hockey in his native village of Fethpur Videshe near Amritsar and later shifted base to Surjeet Hockey Academy in Jallandhar in 2003. Under the tutelage of coaches Malkiat Singh and Chirmal Singh Mann, the lanky lad blossomed into a fine player and was a regular face in the Punjab junior team. He played a crucial role in helping Punjab win the Junior National Championship in 2006.

Soon, Singh made his international debut at the Singapore Challenge Cup in 2007 for the Indian junior team and then played for Punjab at the senior nationals in the coming years.

"I started playing hockey at my village. It is 30 Km from the India-Pakistan border and hockey is still being followed there. Later, I shifted to nearby village Mianwind and then joined the Surjeet Hockey Academy in 2003. Most of the youngsters, who are in the Indian junior team, are from that academy and we used to train together. The experience gained during the Singapore Challenge Cup boosted my confidence a lot. But due to dip in form, I was sidelined for the junior side afterward," shared Singh.

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