Pakistan-bound junior hockey team stopped in Amritsar (Lead)November 10th, 2008 - 10:47 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Karachi, Nov 10 (IANS) India’s junior hockey team is camping at Amritsar to hear from the authorities on the fate of their five Test series against Pakistan.A team official, not wanting to be identified, said that the team as scheduled reached Amritsar to cross to Wagah border Monday, but were told not to proceed till further instructions.
The official told IANS that the team had been asked to wait till Tuesday morning for a final decision on the tour. The players have not been given any reason why they have been stopped from proceeding to Lahore.
The first Test was scheduled Tuesday in Karachi.
However, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president chief Qasim Zia told reporters in Karachi that the series had to be scrapped after the Indian authorities refused to give clearance to their team.
“We are really disappointed at the cancellation as all the arrangements were made and everybody was eagerly looking forward to the series,” said Zia, a former Olympian.
Pakistan and India had agreed to play the bilateral series in a bid to prepare their teams for the Junior World Cup to be played in Singapore and Malaysia in June.
“We feel let down by India,” said Zia, also a powerful politician of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and member of the Punjab Assembly.
But Zia was quick to add that he had no complaints with the Indian Hockey Federation. “The Indian federation did all it could to save the series but its hands were tied. It’s the Indian government that decided that the team should not go to Pakistan,” he said.
Zia said the PHF will now replace the series with two exhibition games to be played between Pakistan Juniors and Pakistan veterans under floodlights Nov 11 in Karachi and Nov 21 in Lahore.