Michel van den Heuvel, coach of Pakistan hockey team, wants Zeeshan Ashraf back in national squad

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Michel van den Heuvel, coach of Pakistan hockey team, wants Zeeshan Ashraf back in national squad
The Netherlands based coach of the Pakistan national hockey team, Michel van den Heuvel, desires the former national skipper, Zeeshan Ashraf, back into the national squad as he has been ignored by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for the first Asian
Champions Trophy to be played in Ordos, China from September 3 to 11.
Three of the other senior and experienced players including striker Rehan Butt, goalkeeper Salman Akbar and the world record holder drag flicker Sohail Abbas were also overlooked by the federation for the upcoming event in China.
“Michel wants him to be part of the team because he is still good as a captain and a key defender for Pakistan,” an official of the Pakistan Hockey Federation stated about the
Zeeshan Ashraf, the national team’s influential defender who led the Greenshirts to a reviving victory after 20 years in the last year’s Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China, where the Greenshirts had defeated the Malaysians by 2-0, looked quite hopeful
for his comeback in the national squad.
“I am fit and practising on daily basis. I have high hopes that I will be recalled to the side,” Zeeshan Ashraf, the 34-year-old former skipper of the Pakistan national hockey team, shared his views about his selection in the national side in near future.
However, a senior official in the PHF management stated that it is not necessary to fulfil the coach’s desire because the federation has their own criteria and process of selection.
“Coach’s desire is not important in the selection process because we have established criteria for selection,” an official of the PHF stated about the national team coach’s wish.
He further stated that the national team’s defensive line is solid and the management didn’t feel any need of the key defender at this point of time instead the federation wants to induct young blood in the squad.
“We just need good forwards at the moment and the rest of the team is balanced. There is no big challenge faced by the squad at the moment,” he added to his comments.
It will be interesting to see how the young players perform for Pakistan at the tournament. Only time will tell if they are up to the task and can compete at the highest levels of international hockey.



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