KUANTAN (Malaysia): An India-Pakistan encounter on the hockey pitch is one of the most sought-after and intense rivalry, acknowledged and followed by millions but the world body (FIH) seems to think otherwise as it has placed into dustbin a majority of this history.
An Indo-Pak crunch encounter provides the International Hockey Federation (FIH) its biggest audience by a huge margin, which in turn fetches millions of dollars in television rights.
Hosts at international tournament await an India-Pakistan match to boost their ticket sales.
The history of India-Pakistan hockey encounters goes back to their first clash in the Olympic Games final in 1956 at Melbourne.
And over the past six decades, this sub-continental clash, which has continued to keep hockey followers spell-bound, has occurred 166 times at venues across the hockey world. India’s 3-2 victory on Sunday was their 54th, while Pakistan have 82 wins to their credit and 30 matches have been drawn.
But the FIH has decided that a majority of this hockey history should be erased.
The ‘TMS Data’ that the FIH has compiled and circulated around the world only list 46 India-Pakistan matches before yesterday’s match in the fourth Asian Champions Trophy here.
The organisers at the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy are circulating statistics based on the FIH data, which seems to be a massive disservice to players who have toiled for decades to score goals and win medals on the pitch.
By the logic, Indian players who celebrated when they scored the remaining 223 goals seemed to have wasted their effort and time on the pitch.
Similarly, only 110 goals by Pakistani players against India were worth the effort and skills exhibited on the pitch, as per the FIH yardstick. The remaining 276 goals may perhaps best be listed in computer games, if the FIH master list – called the TMS Data – is to remain the yardstick of hockey’s glorious history.
The glory achieved on the field seems to have been struck off the historical roster by the wise men handling the FIH master-list.
Incidentally, if the FIH is to be believed, India and Pakistan have met in only 47 head-to-head internationals, including yesterday’s action-packed encounter.