With diplomatic tensions between the two countries flaring in the wake of recent developments at the border, there were question marks over Pakistan’s participation in the high-profile event.

However, Mr. Batra informed the media in capital that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has now confirmed the participation of its team in the coveted tournament.

He also said that the International Hockey Federation on its part could not deny participation to any team. However, if either country says no to participation, then a replacement team will have to be fielded.

As always, a potential India-Pakistan clash is bound to be the marquee match of the Junior World Cup.

Indian hockey coach Harendra Singh said even as a player in his hey days, he never saw any India-Pakistan match as an high-intensity on-field rivalry, but took it as challenge and played like any other international game.

“In my hey days as a player as well, I did not take India-Pakistan match as an high-intensity rivalry, but played normally, without inviting any tension in my mind,” he said.

“I also advise my boys to look at India-Pakistan encounter as any other game as I did. This in itself takes care of not inviting pressure,” Harendra added.

Harendra said his boys were excited and keenly awaiting World Cup matches, especially after putting up a resounding performance in the four-nation International Junior Hockey Tournament at Valencia.

“The boys are excited to play in World Cup and are ready to take on best of the teams, and keen on not letting the country down,” the junior team coach said.

India will begin their campaign at the Junior World Cup against Canada on December 8.

(With inputs from PTI and Suprita Das)



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