Bilateral hockey series with Pakistan unlikely this year

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Published On: 07:54:52 AM

Pakistan might be keen to revive the bilateral hockey series against India this year, but Hockey India (HI) is not too optimistic about a 2014 date and feels 2015 would be ideal to renew the event between the two neighbouring nations.

Top officials of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had recently announced separate schedules for hosting the bilateral series in June—July, but a HI source said they were yet to approach the government for clearance.

The source said HI will seek clearance for the tour only after a new government is in place.

'We are committed to the tour but we haven’t sought permission for it yet. There is no point in putting the request now as a new government will be in place soon,' a top HI source told PTI.

'We will try our best to organise the series this year but it’s highly unlikely. I feel whatever will happen it will happen next year as the new government will need time to settle down before taking such important decisions,' he said.

Both the PHF and HI had earlier agreed to hold the series in March—April, but the event got postponed because of the delay in getting permission from the respective governments.

PHF president Akhtar Rasool and secretary Rana Mujahid had recently announced separate dates for the bilateral series.

While media reports quoted Rasool as saying that the Indian team would arrive in Lahore on June 19, just after the World Cup at The Hague, Netherlands for the three-match series, Mujahid said India would reach Karachi on June 30 with the matches scheduled for July.

As per the schedule announced by Rasool, the first match of the high-profile series will be played in Karachi on June 20, followed by games in Faisalabad and Lahore on June 23 and 25 respectively.

The HI source, however, refused to confirm the dates.

'Nothing has been finalised as yet. So there is no question of announcing the dates,' he said.

The traditional rivals last played a bilateral hockey series in 2006 — three matches in each country. Pakistan won three and lost one while the remaining two were drawn.

A home-and-away series between the two countries was called off last year after the Indian government refused permission for the rubber on security grounds.

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