Zeehsan Ashraf fit to lead Pakistan in CGames

Fullback Zeeshan Ashraf was on Tuesday declared fit to lead Pakistan’s hockey team in the Commonwealth Games, with chief selector Hanif Khan confident the demons of New Delhi will not haunt the squad.

The Pakistan team recorded worst finish in the World Cup in March this year, after playing at the same venue where they will compete in the Games’ 10-team field hockey competition.

“The nightmares of Delhi will not haunt Pakistan and I am confident that this team will reach the victory stands in the Commonwealth Games,” Khan said.

Ashraf, who also led Pakistan in the World Cup and had to come out of retirement, was declared fit after suffering hamstring injury during the team’s preparatory tour of the Netherlands earlier this month.

Pakistan’s first task — reaching the semi-finals — looks very tough as they are pitted alongside title holders and world champions Australia with hosts India, Malaysia and Scotland the other teams.

“It will be a very tough tournament but I am confident that the boys will do well,” said Khan, a member of the team which won a gold medal for Pakistan at the 1984 Olympic Games.