New Delhi: The growing thaw in Indo-Pak bilateral ties is spilling over to the sporting field with Hockey India (HI) proposing an annual eight-team tournament featuring the top four domestic sides of both the countries, starting this year.
HI is all set to invite its Pakistani counterparts for a meeting later this month to fix the modalities of the event, to be called the Indo-Pak Champions Cup. According to HI Secretary General, Narinder Batra, the resumption of bilateral Test series between the two countries will also be a topic of discussion during the meeting.
"We will send an invitation to PHF [Pakistan Hockey Federation] President Qasim Zia and Secretary General Asif Bajwa next week to visit India for a detailed discussion on the bilateral calender for the next three years," Batra told PTI.
Hockey India has proposed an annual 8-team tournament featuring the top four domestic sides of both the countries.
"The bilateral hockey series between India and Pakistan may resume this year but everything will depend on how the talks progress. We also plan to organise a bilateral tournament between the top four domestic teams of India and Pakistan. The tournament will be an annual affair and the proposed name is Indo-Pak Champions Cup," he informed.
Batra also said that India might host the proposed Cup and the Test series between the two countries this year before Pakistan takes over next year. Both the events would be hosted by the two countries on an alternate basis.
Asked if it is feasible to host both the events in Pakistan due to the fragile security scenario there, Batra said in such a case Pakistan can organise the series at a neutral venue. "It would be too early to comment on this thing. Precisely for these reasons, we will be inviting PHF officials for discussions. All these issues will feature in the talks," the HI Secretary General said.
The last Indo-Pak hockey Test series, with three matches in each country, was held in early 2006. Pakistan had won three matches, India had clinched one while two were drawn.