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India-Pakistan hockey series called off after govt objection

India-Pakistan hockey series called off after govt objection
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The diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan has yet spilled over to the sporting arena as the Indian government has refused permission for a home-and-away bilateral hockey series between the two countries on security grounds. A top source in Hockey India on Friday said that they have received a communication from the Ministry of External Affairs asking it call off the bilateral series.

‘The bilateral series between India and Pakistan has been cancelled as the Ministry of Exeternal Affairs did not give us permission. The MEA had sent a fax to us yesterday, asking us not to host Pakistan or travel to the country for the series,’ said a source. Pakistan hockey team was scheduled to tour India next month for five Test matches, which would have revived the bilateral hockey ties between the two traditional rivals in nearly seven years. Pakistan was expected to play matches in the cities of Ranchi, Lucknow, Delhi, Mohali and Jalandhar between April 5-15.

After Pakistan’s visit, India were scheduled to pay a return visit and play five matches in Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi and Sialkot from April 23. Pakistan and India last played a bilateral hockey series in 2006, three matches in each country. Pakistan won three and lost one while the remaining two were drawn.


CANCELLATION FINE

India hockey coach Michael Nobbs said he was looking forward to the upcoming home-and-away bilateral hockey series against Pakistan but now that the government has decided to call it off, he was left with a mixed feeling.

‘I hoped that the 10-match series will be postponed and not cancelled. Ind-Pak hockey matches are followed keenly by hockey buffs and I had looked forward to the series. But in a way it would be fine for the boys as they have a tight packed calendar ahead.’
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