Hockey in South Asia?


Yesterday, there were two matches … Pakistan were playing Australia and India were playing South Africa. No, this is not cricket, but the poor cousin (at least as far as South Asia goes), hockey. Pity hockey is only the national sport on India. We have been told that the 7-1 loss to Pakistan at the Asian Games in Delhi was the factor which sealed the fate of Indian hockey. I dont quite agree. If this be the scene, then what sealed the fate of Pakistan hockey? Pakistan doesnt seem to be doing much better than India at hockey in the world cup, at least. On the other hand, they actually lost to India 4-1, two misses from Sohail Abbas notwithstanding.

Be that as it may, thats not really the question i am looking at here. Somehow, hockey in South Asia has not been able to evolve with the changes in the playing conditions. There is astro-turf, but then, thats been around for two decades now, i think, and one would think by now we would be able to adapt to it. After all, with our skill and technique in hockey, we should be able to adapt to conditions. I am talking here about both India and Pakistan. Now i am not an expert on this, but maybe some of the rules are also not conducive to our brand of hockey? Even if they are not, we have to live by them, and adapt our hockey to them. From the way both Indian and Pakistani teams seem to be going in the world cup, seems the problems for both are the same (sometimes i think the only problem India and Pakistan dont share is the performance of the cricket teams, and that too is only a periodic phenomenon).

This is where the idea came to me, would it be helpful if India and Pakistan were to collaborate to develop hockey? Maybe create a place where the hockey talent of both the nations can be nurtured and brought to a level of global excellence? See, as it is, the only thing we do is fight with each other. And while there is a school of thought that cricket could help heal the divide between the two countries, fact is that the fight between India and Pakistan becomes more pronounced when the two teams are playing each other. So probably more than cricket, hockey has a chance? And this is the question i am asking you today. Looking from two perspectives, one of creating excellence in hockey in South Asia (remember the time when Pakistan won the cricket world cup down under and people in India were happy that at least the world cup came to South Asia?), and another for fostering greater sporting ties of a collaborative nature between the two countries? Maybe India-Pakistan hockey league? Or similar ideas? Please do post your opinions on the poll.

Please do post your opinion. Who knows we may make something out of it? Do post your comments too.

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