Pakistan coped well with new format: Hanif Khan
Pakistan’s hockey chief selector Hanif Khan has praised the performance of the national team after they finished third in the inaugural International Super Series 9s in Perth, Australia, on Sunday.
“If we look at the results, Pakistan lost only one match in the tournament and finally managed to grab the third position by beating India 4-1. So the result is satisfactory,” Hanif Khan told PPI.
Speaking to the press before the tournament, Khan had feared Pakistan would struggle to come to terms with the new format of the game and adapt to the changes introduced in the game of hockey for the very first time.
“Only nine players could be fielded instead of conventional eleven players in the tournament. Moreover, many other changes were also introduced in the event. It was a whole different ball game. So considering all these facts I think our team performed well,” he said.
The changes to the game also included goals one metre (three feet) wider than regulation, two 15-minute halves (reduced from 35 minutes per half) and more tolerance of foot and stick contact in order to reduce play stoppages.
Khan reserved a special word of praise for goal-keeper Imran Shah for his impressive performance in the tournament, keeping in mind the new dimensions of the goal.
“Imran was only sent to Australia because experienced goalie Salman Akbar is playing in Dutch League and was thus unavailable for the assignment.”
“We always had a simple policy that whosoever performs well would be selected for national duty. So Imran has proved himself and therefore the competition in the goal-keeping department has increased,” he explained.
Australia and New Zealand made it to the final of the event, with the former winning both the men’s and women’s event.