Aamir Atlas has slammed the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) for its part in the decline in fortunes of the world’s most successful squash nation as the country’s top-ranked player tries to rebuild his career after a controversial two-year ban by the federation.
“Ban the top player and you ban the person who plays for the country,” said Atlas. “Banning me was like banning Pakistan squash. I don’t know what was going on inside the PSF but whatever it was, it’s bad for squash’s promotion.”
‘Jahangir is sincere about squash’
Atlas slumped from a career-high world number 14 in 2009 to 30 last year. However, there were signs of improvement at the Tournament of Champions with the Pakistani taking Egypt’s Mohammed El Shorbagy to four hard games, and he attributed his renewed self-belief partly to squash legend Jahangir Khan.
“Jahangir called me after I was banned,” said Atlas. “He gave me motivation and I was very happy. He’s sincere about squash.”
Atlas believed the PSF should listen more and dictate less.
“I think the PSF should follow Jahangir’s advice and mine too. Training is very different than it was before. They should hire qualified coaches who’ve been involved with squash recently. The PSF should also hire a physical trainer from abroad.”
The 21-year-old said he will try to play 13 tournaments in 2012 as he aims to reach the world’s top 10 by the end of the year.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2012.
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