KARACHI: Pakistan number one Aamir Atlas is hopeful of a good performance at the World Squash Federation Men’s Team Championship 2011 as the tournament commenced in Paderborn, Germany yesterday. Pakistan, led by world number 23 Atlas, will compete in Group E alongside fifth-seeds Malaysia.
“We have a good chance,” Atlas told The Express Tribune. “I feel that making it to the last-eight will not be difficult and we can do well in the championship.”
Atlas admitted that Malaysia will be the toughest competitor as Pakistan bid to progress to the knockout rounds.
“Malaysia will be the biggest hurdle for us in the pool matches. But I defeated their top-ranked player Azlan Iskandar in the Malaysian Open last month so I’m confident.
“We’re mentally prepared to battle it out with the top teams. Austria and Denmark are top sides but we have a good history against them.”
Apart from Atlas, Yasir Butt, Nasir Iqbal and Waqar Mehboob will also represent Pakistan at the tournament where Egypt will defend their title. Atlas said that Iqbal and Mehboob, participating in the event for the first time, will find it tough.
“I can’t say how far Iqbal and Mehboob can go since they’re participating in the championship for the first time. But I will give my best especially in the doubles matches as Butt is a reliable partner.”
Atlas and Butt have paired alongside each other in 2009 where Pakistan ended at fifth place after losing to England.
Runners-up France compete against Argentina in Group C while Australia take on Bermuda in Group D of the tournament.
Group A will see England go against Spain and hosts Germany play their first match of the tournament against Ireland.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2011.