Injury crisis delays national hockey trials

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KARACHI: Trials for the selection of the national team for the upcoming tours to Australia and Korea have been delayed due to the unavailability of seven players, who are either injured or unfit to take part in the trials.

The trials were previously set to start two days after the training camp — which began on April 12. However, with four first-team regulars and three others out injured, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh believes that it would be better to postpone the trials than have an incomplete squad.

“Around seven players are still unfit and holding trials without them would be useless,” said Sheikh. “The players who are injured are important members of the team who have to appear in the trials to make sure that the best team is selected.”

Sheikh also stated that the new dates for the trials would be announced once the players recover from their injuries.

“The physical trainer and doctors are working on the injuries of those players who are expected to be fit in some days, after which the final training plan will start for the 16-member team,” he added.

The team is expected to leave for Australia on April 28 for the Four-Nation tournament, which is starting from May 2 and featuring five teams — Pakistan, South Korea, New Zealand and two teams from Australia — before flying to Korea for the test match series.

According to the head coach, the two tours will help the team prepare for the 2-16 Rio Olympic qualifiers in June.

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