Karachi :Pakistan hockey captain Zeeshan Ashraf has vowed to avenge their defeat against India in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games when the two arch-rivals meet for the third time this year in next month's Asian Games at Guangzhou, China.
Pakistan were unable to counter India's speed and accuracy in their Commonwealth Games clash in New Delhi, losing 4-7 in a highly-charged atmosphere. In a similar result, India had beaten Pakistan in their World Cup clash at the same Major Dhyan Chand venue last March.
Pakistan and India will meet in a crucial Pool B contest of the Asian Games hockey event on November 20 and Zeeshan hopes to make the clash against the old rivals in Guangzhou a memorable one.
If Pakistan win the gold medal, they will secure an Olympic berth but for the skipper, national pride will be above anything else.
"We have to win our match against India at all costs. We played badly against them in our last match but we won't repeat the same mistakes again in Guangzhou," said Zeeshan.
Zeeshan said that his team won't go down in their third meeting of the year against India.
"We won't let Pakistan down again. The match against India will be really crucial for us because it might decide which team from our pool will play against Korea in the semifinals.
"We are a bit short on experience when compared to India. But the boys are improving slowly but surely," the experienced defender said in an interview to Pakistan's 'Geo Super' channel.
Defending champions Korea head Pool A that also includes hosts China and minnows Oman. Pakistan share Pool B with India, Japan and Bangladesh.
Zeeshan said that the match against India will be Pakistan's most important pool outing but was quick to add that his team won't take Japan for granted either.
"Japan are a very good team on their day and we can't afford to take them lightly," he said.
The defender believes that "too many changes" over the past few months have taken their toll on the team.
"There have been too many changes in the line-up and also in the coaching staff. India on the other hand have experienced more stability and now they are on the way up," the captain added.
Pakistan will take part in the final conditioning camp beginning October 25 in Islamabad before moving to Kuala Lumpur early next month to play two warm-up games against Malaysia.
They will also play hosts China in a practice game ahead of the quadrennial event in Guangzhou.