Hockey: Depleted team likely to play Japan in Asian CT

Karachi: Five of the top players of Pakistan hockey team may not play in their last and important pool match against Japan, in Asian Champions Trophy today Wednesday in Doha, Qatar.

According to sources skipper Mohammad Imran, who has already missed the match against India, would also not play against Japan. Imran hurt his left hand during the match against Malaysia. Fortunately there is no fracture but the hand is swelling, which may force the skipper to skip the match against Japan as well.

Pakistan, ranked fifth in the world and coming in the tournament as firm favourites, are now in a must win situation in their last match and would also be praying that India beat Malaysia, who are sitting with Pakistan with seven points each behind India. India has won all of its matches and has already qualified for the final with 12 points.

Meanwhile, apart from captain Imran, Shafqat Rasool, Fareed Ahmed, Shakeel Abbasi and Mohammad Rizwan may not go to the field.

However, the source added the team management would try to convince the players to play in the important match.

“The team management wanted the players to play in the important match. But the players are not in a position to play forcefully. Most of them have exhausted because of featuring in back to back tournaments,” the source explained.

The source added that playing in matches are not the only reason for exhaustion, and for every tournament, the team undergoes extensive training.

Pakistan has recently played in nine-a-side tournament and Champions Trophy in Australia, where they clinched bronze medal.

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