Adapt quickly and stick to basics: Nasir Ali

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) district manager, now well settled with his big family in his home town of Sialkot, reckons the traditional game still holds good.

By Moni Mathews - Principal Correspondent

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Published: Fri 23 Jan 2015, 2:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:49 PM

Dubai: The Pakistan teams during the late seventies and the early eighties were considered almost ‘invincible’ for their sheer consistency and brilliance. During this period, with just two defenders in the 5-3-2-1 formation standing up to the counter raids of the European and Australian teams, Pakistan were well served by Nasir Ali, one of the greatest defenders seen in the game.

Some of us here will remember the December 1981-January 1982 Hockey World Cup title round in Mumbai at the Wankhede cricket stadium when the Green Shirts outplayed Germany 4-1. “I still remember the near capacity stadium something which I saw later at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi when we beat India 7-1 in the gold medal clash. The crowds there were fantastic both in victory and defeat of the home team and it was almost like playing at home where each and every individual at the venues knew the game so well and appreciated the high levels irrespective of which team it came from,” said Nasir who was felicitated and honoured before a talk on modern hockey at the Pakistan Association, Dubai in Karama, Wednesday night.

“Remember, the 1981-82 cup final was even more memorable as it was the last international game on natural turf. We went on to prove that with proper homework and application one can switch on to the artificial surface as was the case when we stunned the world despite being the underdogs at the LA 1984 Olympics when we clinched the gold medal,” said Nasir who a still looks trim and fit today. The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) district manager, now well settled with his big family in his home town of Sialkot, reckons the traditional game still holds good.

“The silver medal at the 2014 Champions Trophy in Bhuvaneshwar, India was our first entry to the final of the event after decades. We were able to infuse more of the methods passed on by our previous generations. The fundamental aspects are to learn to adapt quickly to the needs of the moment, receive the ball cleanly, trap with assurance and pass or strike at the first opportunity even if the angles are almost zero.’” Nasir continued.

“In the modern game which is played at a dangerously ferocious and often dangerous pace due to the constant changes in rules, our wrist work advantage can be used effectively,” said Nasir Nasir considers India’s former great Surjit Singh and Pakistan’s sweeper back Mohammed Irfan as the two of the best players he has seen in the past and present. “During my playing days, Surjit was impenetrable while Irfan with his fast recovering abilities and deadly drag flicks is one of the best in the game today,” Nasir added.



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