How many times have India played Pakistan in hockey? Numbers differ depending on whom you trust – the official record keeper of the international body or statisticians in the two countries.
As per a software recognised by the international hockey federation (FIH), India and Pakistan have faced off in just 47 matches, whereas top Indian statisticians claim the two countries have figured in 166 matches.
The huge gap came to light on Sunday, ahead of the clash between the traditional rivals in the Asian Champions Trophy at Kuantan, Malaysia. India triumphed to claim their 54th win against Pakistan, who have won 82 encounters (as per records not recognised by FIH).
However, statistics compiled by the Canadian software company, Altius, show the rivals have played only 47 encounters (including Sunday’s clash) with India winning 19 and Pakistan 25, and three ending in a draw.
A perusal of the statistics compiled by Altiusrt, the flagship product of the company, and available on www.tms.fih.ch reveals that it only recognises encounters in official FIH tournaments like the Olympic Games, Champions Trophy, continental championships, Asian Games and some invitational competitions like Azlan Shah.
The record does not include bilateral tests, which are more valued in some quarters considering the difficult conditions some of them were played in.
In one stroke, Altiusrt has denied official status to the test matches played between the rivals, thus negating a huge part of the two countries’ hockey history.
While excluding test matches played between India and Pakistan, FIH and Altius have included results of tests between other traditional rivals. For example, the head-to-head count of matches between the Netherlands and Germany includes encounters of the 2015 series. Similarly, results of test matches between Australia and New Zealand have been included.
On Monday, no response was forthcoming from FIH or Altius, the Toronto-based software manufacturer, for this selective amnesia, as the two did not respond to email queries.
The news is bound to generate controversy in India and Pakistan where victory against the other is cherished more than international titles.