KARACHI: Former hockey great Shahnaz Sheikh has warned Pakistan and its management to not over-hype its bronze-medal showing at the four-nation International Super Series 9s that recently concluded in Perth, Australia.
Sheikh said the up-coming eight-nations Champions Trophy would be an accurate indicator of Pakistan’s calibre.
“Celebrating the third position in a four-nation tournament is an indication of where the team actually stands,” Sheikh said of the Super Series performance.
“The national team’s coaching consultant Tahir Zaman and goal-keeping coach Ahmed Alam have both claimed that the sole victory against India in the tournament had boosted the morale of the team ahead of the Champions Trophy.”
After conceding a 2-5 defeat against arch-rival India in the group stage, Pakistan recorded an identical 5-2 victory in the third place play-off against the same opponents. Prior to that, the Greenshirts lost to Australia and England in performances that clearly displayed a lack of fitness and communication among the players.
“Winning one match out of four is hardly any cause for celebration. India is placed at 11th spot, two places behind green-shirts on the international circuit. But the way the team officials were behaving was quite disappointing.”
“There was little understanding of the nine-a-side format among our players, which was easily be visible by comprehensively going through the scorecard of the round matches our team played against Australia, England and India,” he said.
“They should have played aggressively because nine-a-side format gives ample space for attacking game because of reduced number of players. But our team got few penalty corners, which showed that they were reluctant to play aggressive hockey in Perth.”
Sheikh was of the view that Pakistan would end up at the bottom of the table in the Champions Trophy unless they tightened up their game by miles.
The Champions Trophy will be played in Melbourne from December 1-9 and apart from Pakistan and hosts Australia, Belgium, England, India, Germany, Netherlands and New Zealand will be seen in action during the tournament.