KARACHI: Defending champion Aamir Atlas Khan is unlikely to be included in the team for the upcoming Asian Individual Championship to be played next month in Kuwait after he and Farhan Mehboob failed to appear for the trials, which began on Monday.
Five players are currently participating in the trials — Nasir Iqbal, Danish Atlas, Farhan Zaman, Tayyab Aslam and Sheikh Saqib, while Shahjahan Khan was absent as well.
The trials are being held under former British Open Champion Qamar Zaman, Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) secretary Amir Nawaz and Tahir Khanzada, the acting referee.
Senior-most players Aamir and Mehboob have been at loggerheads with the federation for a while now, who have refused to adhere to their personal demands.
“We tried to get both Aamir and Mehboob to come for the trials but they were a no-show. We’ll now select only from those players who are present here at the moment,” Nawaz told The Express Tribune.
“Even if this means that we’ll be going without our defending champion, so be it. We have to stick with the players we have at our disposal.”
The secretary added that the names of the top two players from the trials will be forwarded to the Asian Squash Federation, while two more will be used as reserves. “I would like to have more than two Pakistani players in the competition so that if at some stage the two meet, we still have another player progressing through a different route. However, that is not the case.”
Pakistan may face an embarrassing outcome on the international stage given the current situation, but the PSF said their efforts to call Aamir and Mehboob had gone in vain and they had to look ahead.
Aamir became the first Pakistani player in 15 years to win the Asian Individual Championship when he won the event in 2013 in Islamabad, beating Kuwait’s Abullah alMuzayen in a one-sided final.
Even back in 2013, the players and federation had been on different wavelengths, but things were handled smoothly to avoid any unnecessary controversy as Pakistan were playing hosts.
“If the federation feels that the juniors can bring laurels without us, let them try that as well. We are still the best players in Pakistan,” said one of them.
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