Karachi, Feb.7 (ANI): Pakistan has announced its 18-man squad for the Hockey World Cup, which is scheduled to begin in New Delhi on February 28.
The selectors have tried to blend in a perfect mix of youth and experience in the team for the coveted tournament in which Pakistan shares the group with countries like India and Australia.
Coach Shahid Ali Khan expressed confidence in the team, saying it would give other teams of the group a run for their money in the tournament, which would conclude on March 13.
"Ours is a very balanced team. All the best available players are in it. We have some very experienced players as well as several talented youngsters which is why I'm confident that we can do well against any team," The News quoted Khan, as saying.
Khan said a lot would depend upon how the senior players of the team perform.
He pinpointed players like short corner specialist Sohail Abbas, striker Rehan Butt, midfielder Waseem Ahmed, goalie Salman Butt and captain Zeeshan Ashraf to play a major role during the World Cup.
"At a big event like the World Cup, it's the experience of a player that matters a lot. I'm hoping that our five senior players will lead the team by example," Khan said.
Experienced goalkeeper Salman Akbar has also been included in the team.e was dropped from the squad after a series of poor performances in the Champions Challenge in Salta (Argentina) in December last year.
Pakistan had lost against New Zealand in the final of the tournament.
Pakistan squad: Nasir Ahmad and Salman Akbar (goalkeepers), Zeeshan Ashraf, Sohail Abbas and Muhammad Rashid (defenders), Muhammad Irfan, Waseem Ahmad, Muhammad Imran, Fareed Ahmad and Sajjad Anwar (midfielders), Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Abdul Haseem Khan, Muhammad Zubair, Akhtar Ali, Omer Bhutta, Abbas Haider and Muhammad Rizwan (forwards).
World Cup Groups:
Pool A: Argentina, Canada, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Pool B: Australia, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Spain. (ANI)