LAHORE: After winning the five test series in New Zealand, Pakistan hockey team has arrived in Australia for a 4 test series on Saturday.
In New Zealand, the 14th ranked Pakistan team came from behind to win the 5 match series 2-1, with two matches ending in a draw. After losing the first test 3-4, Pakistan drew the next 2-2 and then outclassed the opponents 4-2 in the third. The green shirts went ahead in the series with a 2-1 win in the fourth test and managed to hold the black sticks 1-1 in the last test.
Four players wore the senior national shirts for the first time: Abubakr Mahmood, Atif Mushtaq, Tazeemul Hassan and Umair Sarfraz. Of them, Abubakr emerged as a surprise package. In his very first outing, he converted a penalty corner in the second test. The next test proved to be the turning point in the series and Abubakr was Pakistan’s hero with a hat-trick of penalty corner goals. Skipper Haseem Khan distinguished himself with a number of crucial goals especially in the latter part of the series. Goal Keeper Amjad also performed outstandingly. It was a wonderful team performance throughout.
Admittedly, bilateral series are mainly to blood new talent and try various combinations. But these days, with all the top sides having business houses as their sponsors, the results are also important.
All the four tests in Australia are scheduled to be played at Marrara Hockey Centre in Darwin on March 28, 29, 31 and April 1.