As the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) selection committee and team management mull over appointing the new captain for next month’s Azlan Shah Cup, seasoned campaigner Mohammad Imran has been tipped to be chosen for the role.
The PHF is seeking a new captain for the tournament to be held in Malaysia in the absence of Zeeshan Ashraf who withdrew from the event to pave way for youngsters.
Imran, who was Ashraf’s deputy when Pakistan clinched gold in the Asian Games last November, appeared to be the unanimous choice of the selection committee and team management, according to a PHF official.
“It is an old PHF policy to give captaincy to one of the most experienced players,” the official told The Express Tribune.
“So far there has been some sort of consensus among the PHF officials, selection committee and team management on Imran.”
Imran, the 32-year old full-back, made his international debut in 2004 and has also led the Pakistan junior team.
“He has vast experience and is one of the fittest among the seniors players, which makes him a top contender for captaincy.”
The official, however, added that other experienced players like former captains Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi, besides penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas, were also under consideration.
Selectors attend training camp
In the meantime, the selection committee, headed by former Olympian Hanif Khan, flew to Islamabad yesterday to watch the players’ performance in the ongoing training camp, underway at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium.
The selectors will continue to attend the camp till the conclusion of its first phase.
“We will keep reviewing the players’ performance till April 10,” said the chief selector. “The purpose is to ensure selection of the fittest and best-performing players.
“Any player whose fitness is in ideal shape and shows good performance in the camp will get preference, irrespective of being a junior or senior player.”
Khan said the team announcement would be made in the second phase of the camp that will start on April 20.
“The team will be announced in the second phase but we cannot give the exact date at this point.”
The ex-Olympian, however refused to give a tip regarding the selection of the new captain.
“We have to assess the fitness of players and then decide who to include in the squad.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2011.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ