Pakistan look ahead after Trophy row

PAKISTAN have “learnt” their lessons from the 2014 Champions Trophy controversy and are prepared to handle the crowd pressure in the hockey World Cup in India, said captain Muhammad Rizwan senior.

Four years ago, some Pakistani players had gone overboard with their celebrations after their semi-final win over India, triggering a major row. Two Pakistani players were banned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for their obscene gestures.

“It was not a pleasant experience, we have learnt from that,” Pakistan skipper said. “We have discussed that incident and it is behind us now. This time we know we need to be totally focused on our game and nothing else.

“If we can beat India in India great, but our main objective is doing well in the World Cup, not about just one match.”

The World Cup begins in Bhubaneswar this week and Rizwan said his team is prepared to handle the pressures during the prestigious tournament. “We have trained hard for this mega event. Since it is in India we have been  having talks and discussions, and mentally prepared ourselves to give our best under any pressure situation,” he added.

“Obviously we know the Indian crowds will generally not be supporting us in matches.

“In the end it is all about hockey. Both teams will want to win and that should produce a good contest.”

Rizwan, an experienced professional, said the players had no worries about the security as that was something he knew the organisers and the team officials would manage well.