Former Pak players call for WC boycott
Former Pakistan sports captains Thursday demanded a boycott of the hockey World Cup in India next month to protest at Pakistani cricketers being snubbed by the Indian Premier League (IPL).
None of Pakistan's 11 players included in the IPL auction in Mumbai on Tuesday were sold despite their national team being the reigning World Twenty20 champions, ending hopes of Pakistani cricketers featuring in the third edition of the cash-heavy event.
"Pakistani cricketers were treated badly by India, so to keep our national pride we must not send our hockey team to the World Cup," said former Pakistan hockey captain and coach Islahuddin Siddiqui.
The International Hockey Federation (IHF) event is due to be played in New Delhi from February 28 to March 13. Arch-rivals India and Pakistan will face off on the opening day of the 12-nation tournament.
Pakistan's National Assembly also cancelled a parliamentary delegation's trip to India as a protest against the IPL move, while the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) said it would follow the government's advice.
"We have to follow government policy and will seek the government's permission to send the national team to India," said a PHF spokesman.
Former cricket captain Zaheer Abbas also called for a boycott.
"We should adopt a clear policy on sports with India and if they have not allowed our players in the IPL then we must not send our hockey team to the World Cup," Abbas told a private television channel.
India stalled bilateral cricket with Pakistan after blaming attacks in November 2008 on its commercial hub Mumbai on a Pakistan-based militant group.
But they still contest other sports.
An Indian boxing team participated in an international event in Karachi earlier this month, while Pakistan has sent its snooker, tennis, wrestling and badminton teams to India in the last two years.