Special Sunday as Pakistan cricket, hockey teams take on India in London



June 18, 2017 has gained special significance in the annals of Pakistan sports as its national hockey and cricket teams will be up against traditional rivals India in London on the day. The Pakistan cricket team, who were underdogs, have surprised all and sundry by making it to the ICC Champions Trophy final where they faces India at The Oval on Sunday. Similarly, the Pakistan hockey team squares up against India in a league match of the World Cup qualifiers semi-finals on the same day. This is perhaps for the first time that Pakistan cricket and hockey teams figure against India simultaneously on the same day and in the same city. India and Pakistan rivalry is an open secret. Their fierce encounters on the field are considered as ‘do or die’ and is followed by millions, if not billions, all around the world. It is on record that both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) have isolated Pakistan by allegedly involving politics in sports and have been avoiding bilateral cricket series besides not giving visas to the Pakistan hockey team for the Junior World Cup. Sports teach sportsmanship and should be taken in the same spirit by both the countries rather than politicising it. A full house, including expatriats, is expected to cheer the two nations at both the venues as lovers of the game keep their fingers crossed for the results.—Agencies