NEW DELHI - Pakistan captain and ace drag-flicker Sohail Abbas is happy that arch-rivals India and Pakistan won't have to face each other at the initial league stage as they are in different groups.

"It is good for both teams that they won't run into each other at the group league stage. If there is a face-off at group stage, then the entire focus shifts on this marquee match and in turn affects performance against other teams," said Abbas.

"If either of the countries lose their group league game, it doesn't go down well with the people of respective countries. It's better that we play other countries in group stages which would also require a lot of discipline."

India is clubbed in group B with Belgium, Germany, Korea, Holland and New Zealand while Pakistan is placed in group A along with Argentina, Australia, Spain, Britain and South Africa. When asked about the preparation for the Games, Abbas admitted that dismal show in Azlan Shah Cup was big eye opener for their side.

"We could not play to our potential in Azlan Shah Cup but we have identified our mistakes and worked very hard in rectifying those. Europe tour was good where we played against Belgium, Germany and Holland. We had a training camp at Abbottabad, the city based on high altitude. Our focus was improving our fitness and stamina. We did a lot of mountain climbling and running," said the veteran, who will be wearing captain's arm-band for the first time in Olympics.

Abbas feels that lack of match practice at home has been a problem for the national team. "The biggest setback has been that foreign teams are not coming to play in Pakistan. We did not have much match practice at home. Plus there is not a single blue astro-turf in Pakistan. The only match we played on this turf, was against Belgium during Europe tour. On the otherhand, European teams do play each other frequently and are better prepared," said the veteran whose has scored a whopping 345 goals.

The 35 years old left full-back however added that the strenght of India and Pakistan lies in individual talent of their players. "India has Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh, Shivendra Singh while we have players like Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt. Our strength is individual talent of our players and if we could perform well as a unit, we could reach the semi-finals. We must not forget that penalty corner conversion will also be an important factor and both India and Pakistan are good at that," he said.

Pakistan team will leave for Birmingham on Thursday morning to get acclimatised with the conditions. They will also play some friendly matches with international teams prior to the games.