Hockey star Sandeep Singh, recuperating from a bullet injury, wants his team to bring the World Cup home for his sake and for the millions of fans in the country.
"Though I am feeling sad that I am not part of the present team, I am confident the team will bring the Cup for me and for millions of our countrymen," the 21-year-old drag flicker said.
Speaking from his glass chamber in the PGIMER hospital, Sandeep felt the Indian hockey team had the potential to win the World Cup, to be held in Monchengladbach, Germany, from September 6 to 17.
"They can do it. I have been praying that the team wins the Cup for us," said Sandeep even as his elder brother Bikramjit helped him do some exercises.
Asked if the cash incentive of Rs 1 crore for winning the 12-nation tournament would help the team's performance in any way, he said, "it's a good thing. They (team) will surely deserve it if they return with the Cup."
Sandeep, who was kept in the ICU for over a week before being shifted to a private ward, said there had been a "great improvement" in his overall condition.
"The pain I used to have in my legs is less now. The doctors here have been taking due care. Now, my first priority is to get fit and be back in the team," he said.
Sandeep, who sustained a gunshot wound in his lower back while travelling on the Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express train on August 22, says he was looking to make a comeback at the Asian Games in Doha in December.
"I want to get fit for the forthcoming Asian Games and win medal for my team. I want to put the injury behind me. There cannot be anything more unfortunate for any player than to sit in this way. But looking at the positive side of things, I know I will get well soon and play for my country once again" he said.
As the back takes a lot of stress for any hockey player, Singh, who hails from Shahabad in Haryana, said at the moment he was strictly going by the doctors' advice.
"They have advised me rest to help strengthen my back muscles. I hope over the next couple of weeks there should be further improvement in my condition," he said.
Bikramjit said his brother regulary watched Indian team's hockey matches on TV.
He also said the family was thankful to the Indian Hockey Federation and the governments of Punjab and Haryana for providing Sandeep monetary and other assistance.
Yesterday, Punjab Hockey Association President S S Virk presented a cheque of Rs 25,000 to Sandeep's father Gurcharan Singh.
Former players Pargat Singh and Rajesh Chauhan called on Sandeep at the hospital on Friday.