BHUBANESWAR, June 13 -- At first there were three understudies for seasoned goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, gearing up to the take over the mantle whenever the veteran from Kerala decides to quit international hockey. Suraj Karkera, 23, Vikas Dahiya, 24, and Krishan Pathak, 22, were the three knocking on the selectors' door.

Dahiya and Pathak were part of the junior India team that won the World Cup in Lucknow in 2017. Dahiya was getting the lion's share of matches while Pathak spent a lot of time on the bench. Karkera got the break first in the senior team management. Dahiya and Pathak followed soon and ensured a hot competition between the three youngsters for a spot in the national team.

After the selectors tested them turn by turn for the las...