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Pakistan look to Scotland for redemption

The men’s Commonwealth Games opener on October 5 (6am UK time) between Scotland and Pakistan will be vital for both sides, but Pakistan travel to Delhi with the weight of history on their shoulders.
The once-feared Pakistan team endured a disastrous World Cup at the same Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in March – finishing an unprecedented and humiliating last.

The men’s Commonwealth Games opener on October 5 (6am UK time) between Scotland and Pakistan will be vital for both sides, but Pakistan travel to Delhi with the weight of history on their shoulders.
The once-feared Pakistan team endured a disastrous World Cup at the same Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in March – finishing an unprecedented and humiliating last.
Unsurprisingly there were aftershocks. The whole squad resigned while coach Shahid Ali Khan and the entire selection panel were sacked. The players have slowly drifted back and the Dutch coach who took his national side to World Cup bronze, Michel van den Heuvel, now holds the reins.
So Pakistan, who won the silver in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games last time around have a lot to prove – Scotland beware.
Pakistan’s medal hopes are pinned on the experience of Waseem Ahmad, Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi and captain Zeeshan Ashraf, all part of the World Cup team, to motivate the youngsters. in Mohammad Imran Pakistan also have a drag-flicker nearing a century of international goals – although the question remains can he fill the shoes of the great Sohail Abbas at the top of the circle.
Butt admits it will be difficult to forget what happened in the World Cup.
“Yes, we will be conscious of the fact that we fared so poorly here. The controversy that followed is a thing of the past and we have moved on. But the only way we can completely erase that frightful memory is by putting up a good performance in the Commonwealth Games,” Butt told IANS.
“We told everyone then that we were not such a bad team. We cannot finish last and we still believe that. We have to prove it here,” said the star forward.
“As an experienced pro, our job is to make the youngsters feel at ease and soak the pressure of big matches.”
Butt said the team had improved a lot under the new coach but the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games would be the real test.
“We performed well in our European tour. We beat Holland. It has given us a lot of confidence. The coach has worked a lot on different aspects of our game. This will be the first tournament in which he will guide us and we hope everything falls in place.”
“We will give our best in every match. This will also serve as a preparation for the Asian Games (at Guangzhou, China) in November,” Butt said.
“Now it is a good mixture of youngsters and senior players,’ Abbasi told IANS.
“Also, now the approach is to fight till the end. We can’t afford to relax at any stage.
“We have high hopes from players like Mohammad Imran, Shafqat Rasool and Muhammad Tauseeq. They are quite promising and we hope that they come good here.
“Imran has been doing well in drag flicking and has close to 100 goals now. He has not made us feel the absence of Sohail Abbas.”

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