Sohail Abbas set to return to Pakistan team

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Lahore, Nov 7 (UNI) Drag flick specialist Sohail Abbas is expected to make his return to international hockey in the proposed Test series against India early next year.

Talking to mediapersons here, a senior Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) official said, ''Sohail will be given a fair chance to prove his form and fitness and if he is able to convince selectors that he is still good enough for international hockey, he will be selected in the national squad.'' Pakistan is planning to play a Test series against its old rivals India on a home-and-away basis next January.

Informing about the governing Board's policy, PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said, ''The current regime has a clear policy about eligibility to play for the national team. Any player who is good for the team will be selected for national duty.'' The 31-year-old penalty corner specialist holds the record for the highest number of goals scored in international hockey. He has scored 274 goals, surpassing Dutch legend Paul Litjens' record a few years back.

The axe, however, fell over the star player and former Pakistan captain Wasim Ahmed in the 2004 Champions Trophy after the duo missed a national training camp to play in the Dutch professional league.

Since then Sohail has mostly been out of the national team.

The former Olympian Bajwa further said the current PHF officials have a softer policy and all players are eligible to play for the country.

He said, ''The PHF is likely to hold open trials next month in which all players including Sohail and Wasim will be invited.

''If those players pass the fitness, we would be happy to call them back,'' he said.

UNI XC PY RAR AS1952

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