Con­tro­ver­sies, in­juries peg back Pak­istan ahead of crunch Dutch clash

The New Indian Express - - CALL OF KALINGA - SWA­ROOP SWAMINATHAN @ Bhubaneswar

THE Pak­istan team man­age­ment are star­ing at an­other con­tro­versy a day be­fore their crunch clash against The Nether­lands on Sun­day. The Green Shirts, who have col­lected one point from their open­ing two games, might be forced to take the field with­out one of their as­sis­tant coaches — Dan­ish Kaleem — for that game af­ter he al­legedly mis­be­haved with sta­dium se­cu­rity while try­ing to ac­cess an area with­out his ac­cred­i­ta­tion card. Kaleem and chief coach Tauqir Dar had watched the first half of the Malaysia game from a van­tage point high up in­side the West Stand. Af­ter com­ing back to brief the team dur­ing half-time, Kaleem, who had mis­placed his ac­cred­i­ta­tion in­side the dress­ing room, wasn’t al­lowed to get back into his seat for the sec­ond half.

The four-time world cham­pi­ons were miffed about the devel­op­ment af­ter Tech­ni­cal Del­e­gate Chris­tian Deck­en­brock reg­is­tered a com­plaint be­cause of Kaleem’s ac­tions. In­ter­est­ingly enough, while it was an In­ter­na­tional Hockey Fed­er­a­tion (FIH) mat­ter, Dar, in an im­promptu mixed zone in­ter­view on Fri­day, blamed Hockey In­dia (HI) for the whole thing. “One more in­quiry has been lodged by Hockey In­dia,” he said. “A new in­quiry ev­ery day.” FIH clar­i­fied the mat­ter later. “The TD filed a com­plaint and there will be a hear­ing on Satur­day.”

The team will face an­other FIH hear­ing on Satur­day, this time per­tain­ing to the ser­vices of Am­mad Butt. The de­fender was handed a one-match sus­pen­sion af­ter he was charged with caus­ing ex­ces­sive phys­i­cal harm dur­ing a penalty cor­ner in the match against Malaysia which fin­ished 1-1. Dar, who had first leaked the mat­ter to the me­dia, claimed there was a con­spir­acy against Pak­istan.

“There was no ac­tion taken by the um­pire on the ground,” he said. “There was no penalty cor­ner and no cards were handed out. I hope san­ity pre­vails. These are tac­tics (games­man­ship) maybe. We are in a bad shape men­tally, fo­cussing on things other than the match. We are dis­cussing who is go­ing to come be­cause of in­jury.”

Out of the 18 play­ers, two are not go­ing to be there against The Nether­lands. It’s go­ing to be a ma­jor hand­i­cap against one of the tough­est teams in the tour­na­ment.

Tauqir Dar, Pak­istan chief coach

That’s the other thing that’s put Dar & Co. un­der im­mense pres­sure in the last 24 hours. Skip­per Muham­mad Rizwan Sr, who was ini­tially ruled out of only one match, is now out of the World Cup be­cause of a frac­tured toe in his left foot. “Out of the 18 play­ers, two are not go­ing to be there against The Nether­lands. It’s go­ing to be a ma­jor hand­i­cap against one of the tough­est teams in the tour­na­ment.”


Pak­istan play­ers are a trou­bled lot. As­sis­tant coach Dan­ish Kaleem al­legedly mis­be­haved with a se­cu­rity staff. The FIH has be­gun a probe

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