Chief selector Olympian Hanif Khan said on Tuesday that he will be applying the formula of youth and experience while picking the squad for the Azlan Shah Cup on Wednesday. Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is conducting one-day trials at Hockey Club of Pakistan to select an 18-member squad from 30 probables under going training under the supervision of their new coach Khawaja Junaid.
“My philosophy is to pick the best lot based on top fitness, current form and past performance,” he told APP on the eve of the trials. He said his main focus top fitness because that let us down in World Cup.
He said two sessions of 40 minutes will start at 4.00 p.m.to see the boys in action along with co-selector Chaudhry Arshad and Mussidiq Hussain.
He said with Captain Zeeshan Ashraf, half back Waseem Ahmed and forward Akhtar Ali taking rest, selectors will have the opportunity to induct some talented youngsters with an eye on the future.
“Azlan Shah Cup and Commonwealth Games will help us to analyse old guards and new boys before shaping the best team for all important Asian Games in China,” he said.
“Our target is Asian Games because that will shape and decide the future of our hockey. Boys must produce their best to put the game back on track,” he maintained.
“We are facing big challenges and needed revive the game after finishing at bottom in World Cup in India. Our team is not that bad to finish so low,” he commented.
“We have seen spark in some youngsters who are capable replacing senior players,” speedy forward of yesteryears said.
He said he had advised the chief coach to also divert to the mindset of the players to other sports for few day to freshen their mind before the task in Malaysia.
In the meantime Chief coach Khawaja Junaid said that all his players are fully fit and will be appearing in the trials to secure a place in the national squad.
“We have worked on different areas to put some improvement in their game apart from motivating them and lifting their morale,” he said.
He expressed the confidence that Pakistan would be able raise a good team despite World Cup debacle.