India hockey player Sardar Singh is relishing his time under new coach Harendra Singh. The midfielder was instrumental is India’s performance during the Champions Trophy and was a force to reckon with in the recently concluded New Zealand series that took place in Bangalore.

However, the journey has not been an easy one for 32-year-old who was dropped for the Hockey World League final under then coach Sjoerd Marijne. He was also snubbed for the Commonwealth Games where India performed below par.

Sardar, back then, felt it was time to quit the game. “I was dropped for two-three series. I thought I was rested and would be picked for important tournaments like World League and Asia Cup. My name did not appear. I continued training like I do in the camp. But when I was sidelined for the Commonwealth Games, where I wasn’t even in the standbys, I decided to return home. I packed up my stuff and left, thinking it was over for me. Media reports suggested that my career was over. I had offers from Belgium and Spanish leagues. But I was missing the blue jersey. It was frustrating to watch India matches on television. These few months also taught me a lot,” said Singh in an interview with Mumbai Mirror on Tuesday.

However, with Harendra taking over after the Commonwealth Games, there was hope for Sardar. “When Harendra Singh stepped in as coach, he showed a different type of confidence in me. I sharpened my skills and used my experience of playing simple hockey. The team had a target of winning gold in the final edition of the Champions Trophy, and my personal goal was to win it for coach,” said Sardar.

The former India skipper is now focusing on the upcoming Asian Games next month. “Asian Games is one of the most important targets for us this year. A victory in Jakarta will help us qualify directly for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This will also boost team’s self-confidence before the World Cup in Bhubaneswar at the end of the year,” said Singh.

Read the entire interview here.