KUANTAN: Emotion will be high when Pakistan will face-off with arch-rivals India in the Asian Champions Trophy match at Kuantan in Malaysia in what promises to be the biggest match of the event on Sunday.
It won’t be just another match between India and Pakistan — in terms of numbers, it’s the 166th match between the two — it will be a roller coaster, a potboiler of emotions, skills and expectations from fans in both countries.
Pakistan are without their captain and senior most player Mohammad Imran, who missed out on the tournament because of a glitch wherein he sent his passport to the UK consulate for a visa and didn’t get it back on time to travel to Malaysia.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation has promised an inquiry against him.
“Imran will be missed as he has been a key factor in recent matches against India,” former Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui said.
Pakistani players and officials have been told to keep their emotions in check when they clash with India.
“Given the existing tensions between the two countries at every level we have asked our players to not only avoid statements on the match but also keep calm and cool no matter what the result of the match,” a top PHF official said.
The official said that after the Champions Trophy semi-final fiasco in December 2014, the PHF didn’t want more tensions with the Indian hockey board.