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`Preponing hockey World Cup is submission to cricket`

Last Updated: Friday, August 14, 2009 - 15:07

New Delhi: Olympians Dhanraj Pillay and V
Bhaskaran on Friday flayed the decision to prepone next year`s
hockey World Cup to avoid a clash with the Indian Premier
League, saying the administrators have let down the game and
submitted to cricket.

The World Cup was originally scheduled in the capital
from March 7 to 20 but the International Hockey Federation
(FIH) advanced it by a week to avoid a clash with the third
season of the IPL slated for March 12-April 25.

To add to that, Hockey India President A K Mattoo had
hinted that there is a strong possibility of rescheduling the
final of the elite event scheduled for March 13, since it
clashes with an IPL double header.

Pillay, one of India`s most successful forwards and a
member of the selection committee, said he was extremely
disappointed with the decision.

"IPL is a domestic tournament and the World Cup is only
next to Olympics. It should not have happened, this is wrong.
World Cup dates were announced early and IPL should have been
postponed and not the World Cup," Dhanraj told reporters.

"And if they are now thinking of shifting the World Cup
final then I would say they are not committed and have
submitted to cricket," the former skipper fumed.

Former India coach Bhaskaran was equally annoyed and said
things like this happen only in India.

"I am really angry. They should not have agreed (to
prepone it). World Cup is bigger than IPL. Best countries
participate in it," Bhaskaran said.

"Had it been in any other country, it would not have
happened. World Cup is World Cup and IPL is entertainment. IPL
is not an issue of national pride but in World Cup, a
country`s prestige is at stake," Bhaskaran said.

He was of the view that the organisers should have gone
ahead with the original date even if it clashed with IPL.

"I don`t know why they fear cricket. Fans would have
turned up to watch hockey. Somdev (Devvarman) had drawn big
crowd in Chennai during the ATP event. Why people would not
come and watch hockey World Cup?" he said.

"Coverage would not have been a problem. European
countries like Spain and Holland have nothing to do with
cricket. IPL is all about one channel and World Cup would have
all the international channels covering it. They should have
gone ahead with the original schedule, even if it clashed with
IPL," he said.

Bhaskaran, however, did not feel it was FIH`s fault.

"It is the host country which presents the date. They did
not plan early and advanced the Wold Cup fearing IPL. They
should have stood to challenge of cricket," he said.

Pillay, meanwhile, accused the Indian media of being
biased to cricket.

"In India, hockey does not get its due coverage but media
will write even about the cars purchased by the cricketers,"
Pillay said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, August 14, 2009 - 15:07
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