Hockey ignored by Pakistan’s cricket obsessed media

Published: December 30, 2012

Asian Champions Trophy was a comparatively bigger tournament than Pak-India T20 series, but if it caught any attention, it happened only after India’s victory in the last T20 match. PHOTO: AFP

Most Pakistanis now know about the country’s hockey team winning against India in Asian Champions Trophy, all thanks to the cricket team being beaten by India… yet again.

Pakistan was declared the Asian Champion after a score of 5-4 against India. The Indian team boycotted and walked out when the penalty goal was reversed and the Pakistani team showed some Gangnam Style moves before taking the final round of the ground to celebrate their victory.

I know all these details because I was a part of the crowd at Al Rayyan Stadium, Doha, where the crowd outside the stadium was just as large as those seated inside. Some were trying to catch a glimpse through the net while others were watching the match from the roof of a nearby building.

In its news bulletin on Friday, PTV News reported a wrong score of 5-2 for the hockey final. The match was not aired by any Pakistani channel. On Thursday night, while the news channels were busy predicting Pakistani cricket team’s strategies for the second T20 match on Friday, the score of the hockey match occasionally appeared as tickers or side-news, only on some channels.

The Asian Champions Trophy was a comparatively bigger tournament than the Pak-India T20 series, but if it caught any attention, it happened only after India’s victory in the last T20 match.

Let’s stop calling Pakistan a cricket-frenzy nation. The truth is that we are made to believe we are one.

The spirit of Pakistani crowd during the final hockey match was no less than that in any cricket match. People had come dressed up in green with many wearing Pakistani cricket T-shirts from the previous World Cups.

Many had their faces painted in green and white, wearing green wigs or holding props, placards and flags. However, it was a shame that the hockey enthusiasts back home were getting live updates from their friends in the audience because the Pakistani media, like always, chose to give preferential treatment to cricket.

Since all this limelight has not helped much, I think it’s about time we stopped giving our cricket team undue attention and looked at the better things happening in the Pakistani sports scene.

Read more Farwa here.


Farwa Zahra

Farwa Zahra is a Qatar-based journalist. She has studied Gender and Media at the London School of Economics. She tweets as @syedaz (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • CricketFan

    Very well written. I agree with your 100% although I am a great fan of cricket myself.Recommend

  • Seirraalphamike

    unfortunately there is a cricket mafia with in the country that do what ever it takes to keep the game on top.
    I know this because judo and taekwondo games that need to be embraced as self defence and discipline techniques have become a long and forgotten sport.
    cricket is and will always be indian monopolised.Recommend

  • ali

    Dear Farwa,

    I agree with your comments on Cricket vs Hockey but unfortunately the Hockey Final was not covered by any media channel. I checked with Qatar Sports League and they said the Al Kaas TV is not covering the match. Do you know any channel who has covered the match?

    I live in Doha and enjoyed the match live with Pakistani crowd and it was awesome experience!!!Recommend

  • Fan Shan

    Only question is, what will media get by hiding something like this? i dont think there’s any kind of propaganda involved here. it’s just a question of timing. pakistan vs india in hockey cant ever come close to what pakistan vs india in cricket has always been for us. it had to end up getting overshadowed. i think its more a question of media priorities in general and not just in the sports arena. id say bigger concerns are why media didnt provide any coverage to the shia sit-in protest in karachi? why arent drone attacks’ casualties projected the way they should be? why media seems to give indian entertainment industry more mileage than some much-needed-limelight for the local showbiz industry? the list goes on. so in short, a) greater follies being committed by media right now which merit attention, and b) this particular case was actually just one series overshadowing the other.

    Oh and we won the first ODI! Cheers everyone! :DRecommend

  • Ali S

    Couldn’t agree more. Shame on PTV Sports, Geo Super and TEN Sports. I was trying to watch the Asian Cup final on TV but all these channels were too busy with cricket commentary. About time that our talented hockey team (which is still officially the national sport, by the way) gets its share of recognition in the local media.Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    Sports that are played on streets, grounds and school/colleges/unis generally manage to grab the attention of the media and masses. Hockey is nowhere to be found apart from a few glimpses on the news and paper. So we shouldnt entirely blame it on media.Recommend

  • Salma

    We are not a cricket frenzy nation? Really? I think the author has not seen the street cricket being played all over the country. But has anyone seen street hockey? The fact is like most other countries in South Asia, we are a nation that has the cricket fever. We were good at hockey and squash in the past but haven’t done anything noteworthy in the recent years. But in cricket we have made at least the semis of all world events since 2007.

    It is just natural that the media gives us what we want to see. It was unfair to ignore hockey completely but it is very naive of the author to say that we are made to believe that we are cricket frenzy. We are actually cricket frenzy!Recommend

  • Irfan Akram

    It is very unfortunate that despite wonderful performances by our hockey team, the event was not covered by Pakistani media. It was a good year for Pakistan Hockey having 3rd position in Champions Trophy and victory as an Asian Champion. Media spent hours on pre and post match analysis of cricket but do not give due coverage to other sports that they deserves. I think the other side of a coin is economics of commercials.Recommend

  • Ahmad_SE

    Very well written..I completely agree with you and couldn’t stop myself to appreciate you in words..I hate the moment when I couldn’t find the exact link for Hockey after striving for hours..and biased media only highlighting the cricket phobia..Recommend

  • Waqar

    that is right hockey is ignored by folks & media, i think the media is much responsible,, our nations has no brain,, if the media give awareness of when the hockey tournament will be played then a common person knows,, even the media didnt telecast the final in doha,,, shame on the media,, i was in front of the tv but i was passing time with the headlines suck,,,,,
    the media can turns the nation to any direction,,,,
    the result is that no one want to see the hockey, neighter they have glamour, anyone doesnt know the players name,,, no one want to play hockey in the childhood,,,, ..Recommend

  • Sonya

    Media is driven where the money is. What do you think long term paid campaigns by UK AID through Jang Group, Zara Sochiye, Aman Ki Asha etc are something out of their corporate social responsibility !! hee hee.

    Have you ever noticed any negative news items against cellular companies ?? because these companies have been the blood line of media outlets’ revenues for all these years. What journalism man!Recommend

  • Rizvi

    Hello Hello ? ……We are certainly a cricket mad country. And when it comes to India V Pakistan, its mad ! And we won the first ODI….Amazing…..Recommend

  • http://gilgit khan

    absolutely true, fedup with this cricket maniaRecommend

  • Syeda Kazmi

    It’s not just the media! you cant blame media solely for ignoring Hockey.. it’s actually us. Media follow Demand & Supply rule, are we Paki nation crazy or loyal-sporty for hockey as we are for cricket? Be realistic Please.Recommend

  • Fazal

    impeccably written article !

    Though I aint a fan or hockey nor cricket ! but yeah i watch it when its a cricket match b/w Pak n india
    so there it goes!

    Jo dikhta hai wo bikta hai !Recommend

  • Jeddy

    The focus of the media on a single game is injustice for sports fans. As long as Pakistan is on the top of any specific game for instance squash, the media reported it, including hockey. But as soon as Pakistan started losing no one care about them. The one game which is played all over the world is football. Pakistan has been able to develop a team which can compete with the world. Somehow all the priorities are mixed up. Every sporting event should be given equal coverage.Recommend

  • Sane

    Media has its own agenda and do not promote national spirit. Hockey is national game of Pakistan.Recommend

  • http://Seoul Faraz

    Correction; no championship can be bigger then India V Pakistan (in general, cricket or hockey or kabbadi whatever). So cricket won and YES we are a cricket crazy nation. This hockey fever that you saw was most likely because of it being a India V Pakistan game and nothing more. But Hockey should definitely get more attention, we should not be a one-sport nation.Recommend

  • confused

    the article is good but i think you have some other motivations in writing this article, you are dating a hockey player or what?Recommend

  • Farwa Zahra

    Dear Ali,
    The blog was written with an assumption that the said channel aired the match as per its announcement earlier. Since I was myself in the crowd, I am not aware if and why it did not happen.

  • ali

    Dear Farwa,

    The only match which was aired byAl Rayyan Sports1 was the league match between India and Pakistan. Your blog does tell us the sorry state of overall media attention to Hockey. I heard Pakistani and Indian channels were very keen to broadcast the FINAL but couldnt get the support from the QS league.

    Happy new year to you and all Tribune readers!!Recommend

  • sidra

    @Salma: i second youRecommend