Pakistan favourites to win Asian Champions Trophy: Nobbs

Doha, Dec 19 (IANS) India's chief hockey coach Michael Nobbs feels that Pakistan, who finished third in the Champions Trophy, are favourites to win the Asian Champions Trophy that begins here from Dec 20.

The Australian feels Pakistan are an experienced side compared to defending champions India.

An experienced Pakistan team defeated India 3-2 to win the bronze in the Champions Trophy in Melbourne last week.

Nobbs said both India and Pakistan are coming straight from a tough tournament but Pakistan have the edge. The two teams arrived here Tuesday for the six-nation meet. India had defeated Pakistan to win the inaugural Champions trophy in China.

"Look, Pakistan is clearly the favourites for this tournament. Both teams are playing after coming straight from a tough tournament. But Pakistan has some great players like Shakeel Abbasi and Waseem Ahmed, between them they have around 600 games. We have Sardar (Singh) who has figured in 150 matches," Nobbs was quoted as saying by The Peninsula.

Thanks to their bronze-medal finish in the Champion Trophy, Pakistan have jumped from the ninth spot to fifth and are now the top-ranked in tournament in the Asian meet. They face defending champions India, Dec 24.

The Indian team has undergone a sea change since finishing last in the London Games. The selectors fielded a young team in the Champions Trophy, where India made an impressive fourth finish.

The Indian selectors have decided against tinkering with the team and Nobbs said the boys have been rewarded for their good show in Melbourne.

"Well, the selectors have decided to look at young players as they are the future. It doesn't mean that the senior players will be missing out completely. The young boys did very well in Australia," said Nobbs.

Nobbs said the German style of play is best suited for the Indian team.

"I think after the Olympics we looked at the German team. They have good standards at World Hockey and so we took positives from their play and put them in our style of play. We still have our attacking style of play but we have tightened up in the defence a bit more looking at the way the Germany's play," explained Nobbs.

Nobbs said Hockey India is trying to create a big pool of players.

"We are trying to build up the base of hockey. And we have made some conscious effort to try and make sure that we have 20-30 players or more whom we can call on anytime. We will also try and make sure all are provided opportunities and then, try and pick the best for the major tournaments."

Nobbs was not certain if veteran defender Ignace Tirkey wants to continue with the national team.

"I'm not sure if Ignace wants to comeback. He just told me after the Olympics I just want to go and see my baby. He has given everything to Indian hockey. It's like he has to make the decision on his own whether to continue or no," Nobbs said.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

There's a lot going on, I won't lie: Stephen Fleming

There's a lot going on, I won't lie: Stephen Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

Key players are away preparing for the IPL, taking the shine off the other domestic T20 fixture. (CYCSPL) More »

IPL’s credibility needs rebuilding

IPL’s credibility needs rebuilding

Players, coaches, team management and franchises would do well to realise that the seventh edition of the IPL is under intense scrutiny and credibility… More »