ISLAMABAD: Former hockey great Shahnaz Sheikh, on Tuesday, said that the resumption of Pakistan-India hockey ties was necessary but would not benefit either team’s standings on the world stage.
Sheikh put this down to the declining state of the game in both countries and said both teams were mediocre at best.
“What will Pakistan achieve playing against a lowly-ranked Indian team that finished last at the London Olympics? Same goes for India, what will they achieve playing against Pakistan who finished at seventh place in the Games,” Shahnaz said, questioning the logic behind the series.
“It is obvious that everybody wants to see Pakistan and India playing against each other but I believe now is the time for the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to think about how to improve the game and the players’ performances in order to obtain good results in future tournaments,” Shahnaz said while talking to APP.
A two-member delegation of the PHF will be visiting India this month to chalk out details for a possible bilateral series.
“I am not saying the series shouldn't take place because I, too, love to see Pakistan and India in action. Ideally though, PHF should organise a series with Australia, Spain, Argentina and against all other countries that are ranked above Pakistan.”
Commenting on the participation of Pakistani players in the Indian Hockey League, Shahnaz pointed to PHF secretary Asif Bajwa's statement given to a section of press in which Bajwa stated, “The Indian Hockey League will help the Pakistani players to improve their skills.”
Shahnaz wryly asked: “What is the PHF doing to improve their performance?”
“I am not criticising the PHF; just look at the players’ performance in the Olympics. It is time for them to take concrete measures to improve hockey at national and international level or else the game will vanish,” he said.