LAHORE: Rating Pakistan players high because of their impressive skills and physical fitness levels, the national baseball team coach John Goulding is hoping that they would surprise fans and experts at the World Cup Classic qualifying round next month.

The qualifying round will be held in New York from Sept 22 to 25.

“I have been working with Pakistan’s baseball team for the last couple of weeks and I am totally satisfied with their skills, fitness level and talent; they have all the potential to impress fans and experts when they face tough teams like Brazil, UK and Israel in the World Cup Classic qualifying round,” Goulding of the US said while talking to media as a guest of the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) on Monday.

The Pakistan players were showing great passion to learn the finer points of the game, and they were improving day by day, the coach acknowledged.

“Though all other teams of the qualifying round contain five to six players, who are associated with different Major League Baseball outfits, which makes them strong rivals, the Pakistan players are quite capable of giving tough time to their opponents,” the coach from America stated.

Goulding said though baseball was not that popular in Pakistan, still the players attending the camp possessed high standard skills, which really surprised him.

“These boys have big hearts and passion to learn more and more and that is making them strong enough and I hope they will succeed,” he said.

Goulding, who will remain in Pakistan till Sept 5 after supervising one-month training of the players, said the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB) within its limited resources had done remarkably well as the country had achieved the world ranking of 23.

In the Asian region, Pakistan hold an impressive fifth position.

Meanwhile, PFB president Khawar Shah reckoned Goulding was doing a very good job to hone the skills of Pakistan players who were learning day in and day out finer points of the game.

“Goulding holds a vast experience of coaching; having produced many players at the Major League, his presence at the Pakistan training camp will help our players participate with great confidence,” Khawar noted.

He said the Pakistan squad were to leave for New York on Sept 19.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2016

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