Although it came as a pleasant surprise, the midfielder can’t believe that he beat out Fitri Saari, Shello Silverius and Mohd Faid Farhadh Mohd Shah, players who are more experienced than him.
The 20-year-old six-footer, who played for Butterfly Roma HCC in the Italian League last year, was one of four uncapped players in coach A. Arulselvaraj’s squad. The others are goalkeeper Mohd Shafie Sahrom, defender Zulpidaus Mizun and striker Nur Rahull Hrshikesa Tatchana Murthy.
“When coach Arul announced the team, I was surprised because there are many other good midfielders and to be selected over them came as a shock,” he said.
“During training, I was just following the programmes and working hard. I was quite impressed with everyone.
“They gave their all for the past one month and it pushed me to train and play harder as well.”
Training and playing with the likes of seasoned internationals like Mohd Razie Rahim, Mohd Marhan Jalil, Faizal Saari and Faiz Helmi Jali was an eye-opener for Pavandip.
“I’ve learned a lot from these guys, both on and off the pitch. I’ve lost count as there would be something new every day.
“Thanks to them, I think I’m a better and wiser player now.”
Pavandip comes from a hockey-playing family.
His younger sister, Kirandeep Kaur, is a regular in the women’s national team while his father Gurdip, has turned out for Perak.