Sunday’s Indo-Pak hockey tie a selloutBy IANS
Saturday, October 9, 2010
NEW DELHI - India take on traditional rivals Pakistan in a men’s hockey match of the Commonwealth Games here Sunday and a sellout crowd is expected at the 12,000-seat Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.
There is palpable sense of excitement and expectation ahead of another clash between the sub-continental neighbours who always send the heartbeat galloping with their vintage brand of hockey marked by individual skills.
For the fans, it is a treat never to be missed going by the unprecedented demand for tickets and, of course, ‘passes’. With a capacity crowd expected, the security has been considerably beefed up.
Historically, the context or the occasion was never a consideration or a factor when the two met on a sports field, nor the track record in terms of number of wins and losses.
For each meeting, the slate was wiped clean for a fresh chapter in the sub-continental sporting ethos and it will be no different on Sunday.
The last time the two teams met at this venue was in March this year during the World Cup when India won 4-1 and the home fans are hoping for a similar result.
Pakistan team coach Michel van den Heuvel wouldnt risk a comment but merely said it would be an interesting match while making an obvious admission that the crowd would be fully behind India.
Likewise, Jose Brasa, the Indian coach, said he would not look beyond the late Saturday game against Scotland that the hosts need to win to remain in contention for a semi-final spot.
Either way, everything points to a close encounter that would put to test the character of both teams who would be under pressure of high expectations from both sides of the border.