LAHORE, Feb 11: Spearhead Atif Bashir and outside-right Muhammad Nadeem have been reinstated in the 18-member Pakistan team which was announced Monday for the 10th World Cup hockey tournament to be held at Kuala Lumpur from Feb 23 to March 9.
The team was announced by manager Brigadier Khalid Sajjad Khokhar at the conclusion of the one-day trials at the National Hockey Stadium.
Khokhar said that the two players who were on the injured list during the six-nation tournament in Malayasia last month, have now been declared fit and will replace right-winger Sameer Husain and pivot Irfan Yousaf
While replying to a question, he said that though the winning combination of the team had been changed the two experienced players like Bashir and Nadeem had been included to strengthen the side.
Nadeem has also been appointed the vice captain.
Khokhar avoided to predict the final outcome, however went on to say that if the team qualified for the final then it would win the World Cup, too. He said that Pakistan was placed in Group “A” along with strong teams like Germany, Holland and Spain which would make the tournament extremely competitive.
The manager said that after the trials, the training camp had been wound up. The selected players would reassemble at Lahore on Wednesday and would depart for Singapore the same day.
The team is scheduled to play one match each against Japan on Friday and another against Singapore on Saturday. The team will leave Singapore for Kuala Lumpur on Feb 18.
Pakistan will play its first match of the World Cup Feb 24 against South Africa who are playing in the World Cup for the first time. In other pool matches, Pakistan face Belgium Feb 25, New Zealand Feb 27, Argentine Feb 28, Holland March 2, Spain March 3 and Germany March 5.
Earlier, three sessions of 30 minutes, each were held during the trials. Different combinations were tried and tested before picking the final team.
The chief selector S. K. Tressler (Federal Sports Minister) and a member of the selection committee Olympian Samiullah were not present to watch the trials. The other members Olympians Shahnaz Sheikh, Hanif Khan and Sajjad Khokhar watched the probables in action. The PHF president General Muhammad Aziz Khan also watched the last two sessions of trials and later approved the chosen team.
Goalkeepers: Muhammad Qasim, Salman Akbar.
Full-backs: Sohail Abbas, Tariq Imran, Ali Raza.
Halves: Muhammad Usman, Muhammad Saqlain, Wasim Ahmed, Ghazanfar Ali, Dilawar Husain.
Forwards: Muhammad Sarwar (captain), Mudassar Ali Khan, Atif Bashir, Kashif Jawwad, Shahbaz Ahmed, Muhammad Nadeem (vice captain), Khalid Saleem, Muhammad Shabbir.
Stand-Byes: Sameer Husain, Rehan Butt, Navid Iqbal, Muhammad Mudassar, Rasheed Khan, Aamir Saleem, Irfan Yousaf, Imran Rasool, Imran Yousaf.
Manager: Brig. Khalid Sajjad Khokhar. Coaches: Hanif Khan, Khawaja Muhammad Junaid. Dr. Waqar Saleem.