NEW DELHI: Australia’s most inspirational hockey captain Jamie Dwyer has termed Pakistan and India’s resurgence as the single most important factor that could propel the game back into the global limelight.
Dwyer, who has been named ‘player of the year’ for a staggering five times, added that there was “nothing better for the game” when the two subcontinent giants of the past “played good”, referring to the performance of the two teams at the recently concluded Champions Trophy in Australia.
Pakistan got on the Champions Trophy podium after a gap of eight years, beating India and bagging bronze in the third-place match. India remained consisted throughout the event and edge out its stronger opponents to also cap its best finish in eight years.
“I hope India and Pakistan keep improving and keep making semi-finals of big tournaments. They were disappointing at the Olympics this year but we saw here (in Melbourne) that how good they can be,” Times of India quoted Dwyer as saying.
“When India and Pakistan are good there is nothing better for the game. The game becomes so exciting because the amount of following in those countries is huge. I want hockey in those countries to do really well.
“It is pleasing to see them making the semi-finals. How they played the game here is more attractive,” he said.
Following the completion of the Champions Trophy, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) released the updated Men’s World Rankings table, and Pakistan, on the back of its performance, were the most improved nation in the top ten having leapt from 9th place to 5th.
Meanwhile, Former Olympian Arshad Chaudary, while congratulating Pakistan on their success, urged the Pakistan Hockey Federation to build upon the surge.
“I would like to suggest to the PHF and the national team management to immediately prepare a hectic activity programme for the national team instead of celebrating the bronze medal success,” Arshad said.
“The win should be taken as tonic for the roadmap to the World Cup, which is around the corner.
“The national team has shown weaknesses in some important areas of the game and the team management should work to remove all such shortcomings, well before the 2014 World Cup,” he added.