THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, KARACHI, 11th OCTOBER 2013: After failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, Pakistan will bank on youngsters as they begin their quest for revival with the upcoming tour of Australia.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) team management headed by Tahir Zaman yesterday named a 20-player squad including majority of the players from the junior team.
While former captain Mohammad Waseem announced retirement, the management had earlier confirmed the exclusion of veteran striker Shakeel Abbasi and seasoned goalkeeper Salman Akbar by overlooking the duo for the preliminary squad last month.
Pakistan will feature in the four-nation International Super Series Nine-a-Side tournament in Perth from October 17 to 20. The team will then play one Test match each against Australia, Australia A and Argentina till October 25 before flying to Japan to defend their Asian Champions Trophy title. The event will be staged in Kakamigahara from November 1.
The management reposed confidence in Mohammad Imran as the experienced defender has been retained as captain for the upcoming assignments while Shafqat Rasool has been named as his deputy.
Along with Imran Butt, Imran Shah has been recalled to strengthen the goal-keeping department after he was dropped for the Asia Cup.
Four players – Haseem Khan, Rashid Mehmood, Rizwan Senior and Fareed Ahmed – were not named in the preliminary squad due to their commitments with the Dutch League but have been included in the final squad.
Zaman hopes junior players will excel
Zaman said the squad was announced keeping the 2014 Asian Games in mind.
“The Asian Games is our target,” the head coach told The Express Tribune. “It is the best time to test our youngsters and give them exposure. The selected ones are among the best in the junior team setup.
“They are showing determination and I hope they will do well.”
M Imran (c), S Rasool (vc) I Shah, I Butt, K Bhatti, K Shah, A Shahzad, Rizwan Jr, M Tousiq, F Qadir, M Suleman, M Dilber, U Bhutta, A Qadir, Rizwan Sr, H Khan, R Mehmood, F Ahmed, H Butt, S Hussain