Pakistan selectors announce squad for Hockey World Cup
Pakistan’s selectors on Friday announced the national squad for the upcoming hockey World Cup in Bhuvneshwar starting from November 28. Only one change was made from the team that played in the Asian Champions Trophy and shared the trophy with India after rain washed out the final.
Mohammad Rizwan Sr will lead the side, while Ammad Shakeel Butt will be his deputy in a side that will see the experienced veteran Rashid Mehmood replace youngster Rizwan Jr in the side, said chief Pakistani selector Islahuddin Siddiqui while announcing the 17-member squad and six officials including head coach Tauqeer Dar.
They have overcome big hurdles to play at Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. Will @PHFOfficial be able begin their campaign as the dark horses at Kalinga Stadium. Let’s wait and watch. #Odisha2018 #HWC2018 pic.twitter.com/XnabB4ebPS
— Hockey World Cup 2018 – Host Partner (@sports_odisha) November 15, 2018
“Rashid was playing overseas in the professional league when the Asian Champions Trophy was held but now he is available and he is one of our most experienced and best midfielders,” Islahuddin was quoted as saying by PTI at the squad announcing conference.
“The Asian Champions Trophy performance has also come as a boost and my effort is to see these players go to India after having all their dues cleared by the Pakistan Hockey Federation so that there is no burden on their minds,” he added.
Islahuddin was part of the Pakistani team that won the World Cup in 1971 and 1978. Their last world title came in 1994 and since then the ‘Green Machines’ have fared without any success at the elite competition. They finished last at 2010 edition in Delhi and had failed to qualify for the tournament four years later.
But the former Olympian is confident that with the squad they have selected and a little bit of luck, this Pakistan team is capable of bringing the trophy home for India.
“Our players on a given day have the ability to stun any side of the world,” said Islahuddin. Pakistan has been placed with Netherlands and Germany in Pool B. The squad will most likely leave for India on Nov 22 or 23 after getting the visa, which is currently under process.
The Hockey World Cup will be held in Bhuvneshwar from November 28 to December 16.
Final Pakistan Squad:
Imran Butt, Mazhar Abbas (goalkeepers); Mohammad Irfan Senior, Aleem Bilal, Mubashar Ali, Mohammad Tauseeq Arshad, Tasawwar Abbas, Rashid Mahmood, Ajaz Ahmed, Ammad Shakeel Butt (vice-captain), Mohammad Irfan Junior, Mohammad Rizwan Senior (captain), Ali Shan, Faisal Qadir, Abubakr Mahmood, Umar Bhutta, Mohammad Atiq Arshad, Mohammad Zubair Officials:Hasan Sardar (manager); Tauqeer Dar (head coach); Rehan Butt, Danish Kaleem (coaches); Nadeem Lodhi (video analyst); Waqas Mehmood (physiotherapist).