Former Pakistan head coach Shahnaz Sheikh hits back at Hockey India
The former head coach of the Pakistan men’s hockey team Shahnaz Sheikh has hit back at the comments made by the President of Hockey India, Narinder Batra suggesting that no Pakistani players will be allowed to take part in the upcoming edition of the Hockey India League (HIL).
Shahnaz has hit back at Mr. Batra saying that he is just making excuses to stop the Pakistani players from taking part in the next years’ HIL.
“I think someone put these words in his mouth”
He said, “I am really disappointed at the statement given by Batra because I know him personally and he is a nice man. I think someone put these words in his mouth. I hope Pakistan players give India a befitting reply when we next meet them in a match,” as per Firstpost reports.
Shahnaz was the head coach of the Pakistani team when the unfortunate incident happened after Pakistan beat the Indian team in a thrilling 4-3 semi-final encounter in Bhubaneswar. Some of the Pakistani players celebrated the win in an inappropriate manner by showing obscene gestures to the Indian crowd.
He added, “I don't understand the need for this statement now perhaps it is one way for Hockey India to find another excuse for not allowing our players to appear in the Hockey India League, which is a letdown for them.”
“It is good for commercial aspects too”
As a result of this incident, two Pakistani players were given a 1-match suspension and were reprimanded by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
“I remember that after what happened post semi-finals of the Champions Trophy last December, the Pakistan Hockey Federation, myself and even the team expressed regret for the actions of some of our players. Two of our main players were also banned from the final by the FIH and it cost us the final. I met Indian players in Belgium and they were optimistic that Pakistani players will be invited to the HIL this year. They think that Pakistani players bring with themselves the quality and it is good for commercial aspects too”, Shahnaz said on the question of another apology.
However, the former Olympian Sheikh is hoping that Mr. Batra will change his comments in the players favour and will let them play at the HIL next year. He finished by saying that a bilateral series can be the solution to the end the current speculation.
The Hockey India League auction is scheduled for 17th September and the league will begin early next year.