Is India vs Pakistan game that big? One India Vs Pakistan match changes the value of tournament itself in terms of viewership, news coverage and hype, but does it matter for India and Pakistan when they finish in lower half of the standings in the tournament? Or it matters for their rivalry and pride.
What makes me sad is current the situation of hockey in both countries Pakistan and India and we are happy wining against each others, rather than focusing on regaining our status of power houses. We (India and Pakistan) have abilities to excel and reach the heights of past glory again, but why are not we able to, even after trying different combinations of foreign coaches, young/experienced/mixed squads and/or traditional attacking/European style of play? Because, we do not have a leader who can lead us till the top and has capability to arrest our fall which generally happens after rising upto a certain level. I feel we can not find it outside somewhere, rather we will have to look for it within ourselves.
We prepare for one tournament, fail miserably or return with moderate results there. Before introspecting ourselves and our system, the coach is fired who hails from the countries which learnt hockey from us or is our own hero during the time he played. We never take responsibility of the failure but are always ahead taking the credit of success, however big it is and are happy with it.
The effect of India having two bodies fighting for managing its hockey is also affecting the neighbors. For example, disciplinary action against Pakistani players for playing in World Series Hockey (WSH), but Hockey India did not care about Indian players in WSH as they had plan B and did not even want to consider them for selection trials, hence did not bother to set up any committee to listen their point of view for playing in WSH.
Though, Pakistan Hockey Federation has shown some courtesy for their players and listened to their point of view for participating in WSH. They have been allowed to play hockey for/in Pakistan after disciplinary action i.e fines of 10,000 USD on Shaqeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt each, and 27,00 USD on each of other six players including former captain of Pakistan Zeeshan Ashraf, who played in Bridgestone World Series Hockey). But Pakistan team is missing the service of these veteran players (Shakeel Abbasi: WSH Game Changer, Zeeshan and Rehan lead their respective WSH teams to semi-finals) in ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. If all goes well and these players are considered for Olympics, Pakistan is expected to bounce back from these bad outings in Ipoh, when they play all important Games at London from July 29th, 2012.
As I had mentioned earlier (here) “Is it really big and worth for such a hype, when both India and Pakistan, earlier power house of Hockey for decades, are struggling to make a respectable place in current times? India and Pakistan should make use of the status of their game, not only to make it source of their income (cause money matters) by playing regularly on home and away basis series, but also by collaborating for knowledge sharing as both sides play similar style of hockey.”
India and Pakistan should work together as leaders and belayers support each other in rock climbing, work as team, climb through world ranking to the top together and fight it out there. We need to be a team together to conquer the cliff of Europeans Giants (Netherlands/Germany/England/Great Britain) and Trans-Tasman Rivals (Australia/New Zealand) in world hockey. But before that we need to have a structure in place in both the countries, at least, for conducting the nationals to pick up the talent, to nurture them for international tournament, if not for club competition.
India and Pakistan need to take some visionary and corrective steps, if we want to rule the world of hockey again as we used to. We need to have a healthy competition among ourselves and use the energy in the right direction, rather than wasting it in rivalry and celebrating insignificant win over each other.
Some India and Pakistan Stastitcs:
India Vs Pakistan: Total Matches: 152,
Pakistan won 75, India won 50 and 27 Draws
India have scored a total of 290 goals against Pakistan who has scored 66 more totaling to 356.
India at Olympics: 8 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals, Failed to qualify for 2008 Olympics
Pakistan at Olympics: 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals, Finished at 8th Position in 2008 Olympics
Pakistan at World Cups: 4 Gold and 2 Silver Medals, Finished 12th (Last) in World Cup 2010
India at World Cups: 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze Medals, Finished 8th in World Cup 2010