New Delhi: India’s staggering record against Pakistan in men’s hockey over the last two years may extend to the Commonwealth Games (CWG) as the two nations renew their rivalry in Gold Coast on Friday.
When India met Pakistan at the Hockey World League Semifinals last June, Roelant Oltmans was India’s coach. The script has seen a twist in less than a year. India showed Oltmans the door and Pakistan opened it for the Dutchman. He will be coaching the green shirts for the first time against India since taking over as Pakistan coach earlier this year.
Having spent almost five years in India’s coaching setup and just months with struggling Pakistan, Oltmans will know the gulf of difference between the two sides, which highlights in the recent head to head – besides the rankings. India are world No. 6, Pakistan 13th.
But before running finger over statistics, Pakistan’s result in their first match at CWG 2018 served as an indicator. They were held to a 1-1 draw by 24th-ranked Wales.
For India, now coached by Sjoerd Marijne, it will be their first match of the competition and eighth against Pakistan since April 2016. Staggeringly, India won all those seven encounters, including their biggest margin of win over the archrivals (7-1).
2016 Azlan Shah Cup: India 5 - 1 Pakistan
2016 Asian Champions Tropy (league match): India 3 - 2 Pakistan
2016 Asian Champions Trophy (Final): India 3 - 2 Pakistan
2017 Hockey World League Semifinals (pool): India 7 - 1 Pakistan
2017 Hockey World League Semifinals (5th-8th): India 6 - 1 Pakistan
2017 Asia Cup (pool): India 3 - 1 Pakistan
2017 Asia Cup (Super 4s): India 4 - 0 Pakistan
That dominance has seen India sail over Pakistan in head to head since 2010. The numbers read – Matches 31, India won 16, Pakistan won 8, Draw 7. India’s authority further highlights in their 91 goals in those matches compared to Pakistan’s 58.
In terms of record in CWG, the two teams have faced-off just twice. In 2006 Melbourne, Pakistan won 4-1. At Delhi 2010, India clinched the 11-goal thriller 7-4. The match on Friday will be the 10th Indo-Pak game on Australian soil; India have won four of those and Pakistan two, while three matches ended as draw.
Overall on neutral venues, Pakistan have won 43 and India 36 of the 98 matches the two teams have played. The remaining 19 were drawn affairs. India’s current dominance shows in their credentials as the reigning Asian Games and Asia Cup gold medallists. But Marijne, under who India broke the jinx to reclaim the Asia Cup last year, isn’t reading much into the numbers. The key word for him is “emotions”.
“For me, it's one game, like every match,” Marijne said talking to Zee Media. “I create a lot of pressure for myself. I don't feel pressure from other people around hockey. “I know it's an important match, the players know it too. But the more we see it as a normal match, the better we will play. The key is not to show emotions on the pitch, because when it gets emotional, then it can be a tough game.”
Besides India and Pakistan, Pool B of the competition consists of England, Malaysia and Wales. Top two progress to the semifinals.
(Stats by BG Joshi)