One thing that has not changed even after Indo-Pak Partition is the game ‘Hockey’. It is the national game of these two neighbouring countries. Although the two are arch rivals, they participate in almost every international competition. Hockey matches are played as a goodwill gesture too and that in turn uplifts hockey which is losing its sheen.
There is no doubt that a game is played with competitive spirit and to win, but it is not the only thing that matters while playing. Games teach us optimism, team coordination, infuse enthusiasm and give players a zeal to achieve goals, games teach players to respect opponents and help them to develop positive attitude towards defeat etc. Playing any outdoor sport is thought to free the players from all sorts of negative energies.
Pak players’ indecent gestures
But the incident that has happened recently on Indian hockey ground does not go well with these thoughts of sportsmanship. Pakistani players after winning the Champions Trophy semi-final against India removed their T-shirts, used abusive language and made indecent gestures towards the media and the fans.
After objections from Hockey India, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) suspended two players, Muhammad Tousiq and Ali Amjad, and applied a one-game ban on them making them unavailable for the final match against Germany. Pakistani team had won the match but in reality that was an awkward way to celebrate victory. This is a matter of great concern: what sort of vibes a person or a team, representing a nation, gives by displaying such gestures! It surely increases the bitterness between India and Pakistan.
Ashok Kumar, former India hockey captain and son of renowned hockey player Dhyan Chand, once said that this rivalry is confined to hockey pitch only and off the pitch Pakistan and Indian players are good friends. But spectators believe what they see on the pitch.
Indo-Pak matches worth watching
Both the countries participated in tournaments like Asian Games, Hockey Asia Cup, Commonwealth Games and Summer Olympic Games and the cut-throat rivalry can be seen in any match. Such high pitch matches are also enjoyed by spectators with exceedingly high expectation from their respective teams. Winning team is honoured as if it has won a battle. Pakistan has won most of the matches against India. The teams played 52 India vs Pakistan Test series in which Pakistan won 25 matches and India won 16. Out of 12 Asian Games Pakistan won 9 and India 4.
Irrespective of who wins, any match between India and Pakistan is worth watching, and therefore, players have to be extra cautious. They must play the game with healthy spirit rather than bitter rivalry.