Seasoned defender Muhammad Imran will lead a relatively inexperienced Pakistan hockey team at the upcoming Champions Trophy in Australia.
Imran, who led the Greenshirts at the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy last year, replaces Sohail Abbas after the legendary penalty-corner specialist failed to even find a place in the list of probables for the upcoming events.
Forward Muhammad Waqas will be Imran’s deputy at the Champions Trophy, which runs from December 1 to 9.
The most notable addition to the squad is veteran Waseem Ahmad, who had retired soon after the 2012 London Olympics. Pakistan’s manager-cum-head-coach Akhtar Rasool is reported to have persuaded Ahmad back out of retirement citing a lack of potency and experience in the back line.
Imran Shah has been retained to stand in goal despite a below par performance at the Olympics.
Pakistan have been grouped with hosts Australia, Belgium and London Olympics silver medalists Netherlands in Pool B, while Pool A consists of Olympic gold medalists Germany, England, New Zealand and India.
Before Imran’s men take on the Netherlands in the opening match of the event, they will feature in the International Super Series 9s, which roll into action in Perth from November 22-25.
Pakistan Squad: Goalkeepers: Imran Shah, Imran Butt.
Full Backs: Muhammad Imran (Capt), Muhammad Ateeq, Syed Kashif Shah.
Halves: Waseem Ahmad, Muhammad Tousiq, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Muhammad Rizwan Junior.
Forwards: Muhammad Waqas (Vice-Capt), Shafqat Rasool, M. Umar Bhutta, Abdul Haseem Khan, Shakeel Abbasi, Muhammad Kashif Ali, Muhammad Rizwan Senior, Ali Shan.
Team officials: Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary (Manager-cum-head Coach), Abdul Hanif Khan (Coach), Ajmal Khan Lodhi and Ahmed Alam (Assistant coaches), Faiz-ur-Rahman (Physiotherapist) and Nadeem Khan Lodhi (Video-Analyst).