Pakistan won`t recall Abbas for Commonwealth Games
Karachi: Sohail Abbas, Pakistan`s record-breaking hockey player, will not feature in October`s Commonwealth Games (CWG) in New Delhi as the country`s hockey bosses have decided against including the veteran player in the national team.
A top Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) official said Wednesday that Abbas will not be invited for the preparatory camp for the Oct 3-14 Games because Pakistan doesn`t need the short corner expert, who holds the record of scoring the highest number of goals in international hockey, anymore.
"We will not be inviting Abbas for the Commonwealth Games camp, we don`t need him anymore," said Asif Bajwa, PHF secretary, according to a newspaper.
Abbas skipped the team`s training camp for the Europe tour last month and instead opted for the Bangladeshi League without informing the PHF, after he was disgruntled on his omission from the team for the Azlan Shah tournament.
Bajwa said the federation played its role by inviting the drag flick specialist repeatedly and will not ask him again to join the camp.
He also claimed that the team performed well in the Europe tour and did not miss the veteran player as Pakistan attempted to retain its lost status in hockey.
"The team showed improvement in Europe, where we achieved satisfactory results without Abbas," he said.
Pakistan will prepare for the CWG in two phases. The first phase will begin with a training camp in Abbottabad Aug 12-26. The team will then fly for a training camp to the Netherlands Sep 1-20. Bajwa said that chief selector Hanif Khan would announce the list of probables soon.
Meanwhile, Bajwa expressed satisfaction over the performance of Michel Van Den Heuvel, the team`s new coach from the Netherlands, following the Europe tour which was the Dutchman`s first assignment in the role.
Pakistan drew three matches against Spain, won the only battle against France and drew two matches against Holland during their two-week long sojourn.
Bajwa, who accompanied the team in Europe, said he saw positive changes in the team.
"There were some notable changes in the team. The coach has brought positive changes and we are happy with his performance. Heuvel is currently in Netherlands and will be returning before the Abbottabad camp to supervise the team`s training. Heuvel will be back early next month to join the team and we are hoping for better results under him in the Commonwealth Games," he said.