Lack on int’l exposure main cause of Pakistan team’s defeat: former greats

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 31 (APP): Former hockey greats have attributed lack of exposure to international competitions as the main reason of Pakistan team’s loss to arch-foes India in the final of Asian Hockey Champions Trophy 2016.
“Indians won the final because they have more international exposure. They’ve been featuring in almost all international events,” former skipper Hassan Sardar told APP on Monday.
He said India did not outclass Pakistan stating, “It was an intense battle. Our boys played better than Indians. But they failed to avail opportunities and succumbed to pressure,” he added.
Hassan said that though Pakistan lost the final, they should not be despondent because they gave a tough time to a side, whose players were far more experienced than them.
He also bemoaned absence of Pakistan team’s captain Mohammad Irfan in the event. Irfan had failed to depart with the team as he could not get his passport back from British embassy in time.
“He is a seasoned player. If he had been with the team, the result of the final might have been different,” the erstwhile centre forward said.
However; he said that Pakistan needed to look at their mistakes and take them into consideration while preparing for their future assignments.
Former captain and goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed also believed that lack of international exposure had stunted team’s performance in the tournament.
“I’ve seen some very good hockey from Pakistani players but they have not been constant. In all the matches they played in Malaysia I saw in one quarter they would display a superb game, while in the next they would look somewhat lazy.
“This is mainly because they’ve less international exposure. I believe if they get more international experience they will learn how to remain consistent and finish the match,” he added.
“I also believe team skipper’s absence also affected their performance. He (Irfan) is an experienced player. Had he been with the team, he would definitely have adopted a different strategy.
“Secondly, if also affects you psychologically if your are featuring in an event without your captain”, the former captain reckoned.