Men's Hockey World Cup 2018: 5 promising young players to watch out for
The 14th edition of the Men's Hockey World Cup is all set to get underway at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The eagerly awaited tournament will begin on November 28 and run its course till the all important title clash on December 16.
Among the 16 participating teams, traditional heavyweights Australia, Netherlands and Germany are front-runners to lift the coveted World Cup trophy. While there are several experienced stalwarts featuring in action, the presence of young and promising players should add a different charm to the tournament.
In this segment, let us take a look at five young players who can potentially take the next step to become global stars during the 2018 Hockey World Cup.
#5 Muhammad Atiq Arshad - Pakistan
After failing to qualify for the 2014 edition in Netherlands, Pakistan return to the World Cup fold during the 2018 tournament on Indian soil. With dwindling interest from the once-passionate populace and Pakistan Hockey Federation in a financial mess, the four-time World Cup champions are struggling to compete in recent times.
In a far cry from the golden era of Pakistani hockey, the current World Cup squad contains just four players aged below 25 years. At 21, Muhammad Atiq Arshad has already played more than 30 matches for his country.
The young striker rapidly rose through the ranks by virtue of his impressive performances in the U-16 and then U-21 circuit. He was part of Pakistan's silver medal winning team in the 2015 Junior Asia Cup. During the 2018 Asian Games bronze-medal match, Atiq Arshad scored a splendid goal to cause a few jitters in the Indian camp. Team manager Hassan Sardar should bring him into the starting eleven right from the start of their campaign.