Back in the side after the London Olympics debacle last year, star drag flicker Sandeep Singh has credited his friend and Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh for helping him come out of the bad phase that sidelined him from the national squad for nine months.
Sandeep returned to the national-fold for the upcoming FIH World League Round 3 (semifinals) to be played in the Netherlands after being dropped from the Asian Champions Trophy, Champions Trophy, Azlan Shah Cup and World League Round 2 played earlier this year.
"Last few months were tough for me and I was stressed. I spoke to Bhajji who is a good friend. He told me not to give up hard work and spend quality time with my family. I did the same and despite not being a part of final team I took part in every camp. I was confident that my hard work would come good for me," Sandeep told PTI in an interview.
Sandeep was out of favour after the London Olympics due to a slump in form but his performance in the inaugural Hockey India League, where he emerged as the top scorer with 11 goals in 12 matches, put him in reckoning for a national call.
The 27-year-old had a good outing in last month's Dutch tour as well. Though he went through highs and lows in his career after a terrible Olympics campaign, he said he did not lose his self-belief.
"When I had an accident in 2006, no one believed that I would return to the ground but I did. This time also I was out of the team for long but I was confident of making a comeback," he said.
Sandeep was seriously injured after being hit by an accidental gunshot onboard the Shatabadi Express in 2006 while on his way to join the national team ahead of the Germany World Cup. He was almost paralysed and wheelchaired for two years.
The gritty fullback however not only recovered from that career threatening injury, but also reestablished himself in the team.