New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) Rising star Armaan Qureshi on Friday credited his Hockey India League (HIL) franchise Jaypee Punjab Warriors' coach Barry Dancer for instilling confidence in him to perform in big matches.
The 21-year-old Armaan, who moved to the Punjab franchise last year after being with the Delhi Waveriders during the previous two editions, said his new side gave him the opportunity to showcase his potential in real match situations.
"He (Dancer) played a crucial role in reviving my game during the last edition of HIL. Not having played too many matches in the previous editions, I was looking for a break but it could have either gone good or bad for me. But our coach Barry Dancer ensured I stayed on top of my game, especially mentally," Armaan said.
"He helped me understand my strengths. He made me believe in my game. The junior team had won the Junior Men's Asia Cup and Sultan of Johor Cup just before the HIL, and everyone wanted to do well in HIL. But since I hadn't got enough chances earlier, I was low on confidence," admitted Qureshi.
"In the 2014 and 2015 editions, I was part of the Delhi Waveriders team. But I could not come up with a significant performance," said the Gwalior-born striker, who was part of India's victorious junior World Cup squad.
"Most of my teammates from the junior squad had played many matches in the League and had done well for themselves. I wanted to prove myself too but the real turning point came in 2016 when I was picked for Jaypee Punjab Warriors."
He said playing alongside team captain Sardar Singh, Australian great Mark Knowles, Simon Orchard and Chris Ciriello and India forward S.V. Sunil has helped him learn to cope under pressure.
"In many ways, I feel the HIL was a turning point in my career and that confidence I was able to carry right through the year which resulted in us winning the Junior World Cup," concluded Armaan who scored a fine goal against England that helped India virtually seal the quarter-final berth in the Junior World Cup.
Armaan will be joined by Varun Kumar and Ajit Kumar Pandey from the junior team in defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors camp for the upcoming HIL, which starts on January 21.