The trial matches started here at Mushaf Ali Mir Complex on Tuesday for the selection of Pakistan squash team for the upcoming World Team Squash Championship to be held in France from June 9 to 15.

Pakistan head coach Jamshed Gul is conducting the trial matches assisted by M Ikram, Asif Khan, Sajjad, Sajid, Nadeem and Azhar while six players Mansoor Zaman, Farhan Zaman, Sh Saqib, Waqas Mahboob, Tayyab Aslam and Ammad Fareed appeared in the trial matches on the opening day in the first phase which will continue till May 9. After the first phase, four players will be shortlisted who will face the likes of Aamair Atlas, Danish Atlas, Farhan Mahboob and Nasir Iqbal in the second phase starting from May 13 to 16 and then four players will be selected for the prestigious event.

Talking exclusively to The Nation on Tuesday, Jamshed Gul said: “Two players Bilal Zakir and Syed Ali Bukhari refused to appear in the trial matches instead they opted to concentrate on the World Junior Individual Squash Championship to be held in Poland from July 13 to 16. In my opinion they have done the right thing to focus on the task ahead, while let the seniors to vie for a place in the team.”

To a query, Jamshed replied: “Frankly speaking, I am also tired after the Asian Squash Championships but we don't have much time to prepare so we are back on the courts after taking a day off. I want to prepare my players for the world team event, as this is our next main task after accomplishing the task of winning the Asian Junior Team Championship, Asian Senior Team Championship, runners-up in World Juniors and now winning the Asian Senior Individual title.”

He said Aamir, Nasir and Farhan should have been given given exemption from trials but it was the combined decision of the meeting held under the chair of SVP Razi Nawab which was also attended by secretary, himself, Qamar Zaman, Sher Ali Khakar and Aamir. The committee decided to conduct trial matches and give equal opportunity to every player to force his way into the team through performances.

Commenting about the chances of Pakistan team in the event, Jamshed said: “Our boys are as good as any other top team of the world. But what they lack is the PSA rankings just because they didn't get enough international events, but that doesn't stop them beating higher ranked players, just like they did in the Asian Squash Championship.”

To a query regarding Aamir who declined to appear in the trial matches, Jamshed replied: “We rely heavily on our champion player Aamir. We can't afford to even think about missing him out, but I am sure he will turn up for the trial matches and stamp out his superiority.”