KARACHI - Pakistan hockey team captain M Imran Tuesday said that winning silver medal in Hockey Champions Trophy in Bhubneshawar, India was a great achievement of the team. "It was a great turnaround and comeback by the team after dismal start in league rounds,” he said on his return from India. He said Champions Trophy was considered the toughest global event of world hockey and securing second spot was a huge achievement in current hockey scenario.
Full-back Imran said his team boosted by the team management came strongly from the quarterfinal rounds. He agreed that quarterfinal format greatly benefitted the team and it changed their fortunes. "Definitely the format introduced in 2012 benefitted and our team played great hockey from the knockout rounds," the Olympian said.
He said the whole team and management deserved the credit for reaching the final of a major event for the first time in 16 years was very encouraging and boosting. He said after back to back three defeat, first chief coach worked out tactics and later he had session with his boys including five newcomers. "The experience gained by the boys in league rounds proved vital in better tactical play which helped good win against the Netherlands and India," he recalled.
He said they gave free hand to players to play their natural game without fear factor. "This strategy worked out well and our new penalty corer drills proved a vital factor in our win against the Dutch team," he added. Imran said despite partisan crowd, team played spiritedly to down India in last four stage.
He expressed the hope that after their good performances team will be rewarded by the government. He said Pakistan played for honor and glory of the country and deserved to be treated well. He, however, said a great hard work is required to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janerio Olympics.