Pakistan recalls banned Abbas for Champions Trophy

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KARACHI, Oct 6 (Reuters) Reeling after a string of international defeats, Pakistan's hockey bosses have lifted a ban on their most experienced player, Sohail Abbas, for the Champions Trophy.

The Pakistan hockey Federation recalled Abbas, a penalty corner specialist, and three other senior players for a training camp to be held from October 18 ahead of the Champions Trophy in December.

Abbas, Ghazanfar Ali, Waseem Ahmed and Dilawar Hussain were last year declared persona non grata in Pakistani hockey after failing to attend trials for the Asian Games.

Once a powerhouse in world hockey, Pakistan have lost to Japan, China and Malaysia over the last eight months and have not won a major title since being crowned world champions in 1994.

''We are facing a string of poor results and we need to turn back the tide,'' chief selector, Khawaja Zakauddin told Reuters on Saturday.

''We have given chances to youngsters but now we need to try other alternatives as well.'' Abbas, 30, plays in the Netherlands and has scored close to 300 goals in international hockey. He is one of the sports biggest names.

Pakistan blamed poor umpiring after they finished sixth in the 11-nation Asia Cup in Chennai last month, losing to Japan and China.

REUTERS SSC BST1130

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