Karachi: Indian hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay has urged Indian and Pakistani officials to step up efforts to revive a bilateral series between both nations, if they want to regain their lost status in the sport.
India and Pakistan were dominant forces until the last decade, but are currently struggling against the European sides that lead the world rankings now.
The legendary Indian striker believes that the suspension of bilateral series is largely responsible for the downfall of both countries in this sport.
“Pakistan and India play real hockey. The two nations form the Asian style, which can still be lethal, but unfortunately, suspension of hockey ties has hit the sport hard on both sides of the border. Both countries play attacking hockey and can learn a lot from each other,” a leading daily quoted Pillay, as saying.
He said that although both sides still have a lot of talent, there is a lack of inspiration among youngsters.
“The inspiration can be gained through Pakistan-India matches. We learnt a lot by playing against Pakistan because in our time, there were regular series between the two teams,” he added.
Pillay, who featured in the Olympics, the World Cups, the Champions Trophy as well as the Asian Games, suggested that Indo-Pak series could be arranged at a neutral venue, if there were security issues.
“We have the option of a neutral venue. Many countries including UAE, Malaysia and Muscat would like to host the series,” he said.
The former Indian captain also urged the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to facilitate federations of both countries in arranging the series.
“Like cricket, Pakistan-India matches form the biggest rivalry in hockey. The revival of a series between the arch-rivals means a boost to the game and FIH should assist the federations,” he said.