May 112012
 

The 1982 Hockey World Cup was hosted by India. The venue was the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. The event was held from December 29, 1981 to January 12, 1982. Pakistan was in Pool A along with West Germany, Argentina, Poland and New Zealand. Host country India was in Pool B along with Australia and Holland. The 1982 World Cup was the first World Cup to be played on grass. This was also the first World Cup in which the experimental rules like “hit in”, “no long corner”, “no sticks”, “no bully-off” and “pass back” became mandatory.

The host country was not doing well. It once again fell upon Pakistan to keep the flame of Asian Hockey burning brightly. Pakistan had to stand up to the challenge posed by the Europeans and the team did just that. Pakistan won all of its pool matches. It also beat Holland in the semi-final and Germany in the final. Pakistan won all the seven matches it played by a margin of at least two goals. Its average was five goals per match. In one of its pool matches, it defeated New Zealand 12 goals to 3. In contrast, India lost all the games that mattered.

Pakistan was also the winner of the Junior Hockey World Cup at that time. Victory in the 1982 Hockey World Cup meant that Pakistan had won back-to-back World Cups. And Pakistan also managed to achieve the Classic Triple in Hockey for a second time. Pakistan had won the Asian Games gold medal in 1980 and would go on to win the Olympic gold in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The team had achieved the Classic Triple for the first time in 1971, when it won the inaugural World Cup, the Asian Games gold and the Olympic gold.

The Pakistan Hockey team had also won the Champions Trophy tournament in 1978 and 1980. So it can be said that Pakistan had achieved the Grand Slam in Hockey. This was the time when Pakistan Hockey was at its zenith. The period between 1956 and 1984 was a golden era for Pakistan Hockey. Pakistan was the only team to stand up to the might of the Europeans. Pakistan had also managed to stay undefeated in back-to-back World Cups – a remarkable feat in itself. Players like Waheed Khan, Tanvir Dar and Abdul Rasool were key contributors to the incredible success of the Pakistan Hockey team.

Ironically, two important Hockey events were hosted by India during the early 1980s – the 1980 Asian Games and the 1982 World Cup. Pakistan emerged victorious in both the events. Pakistan’s victory in the 1982 World Cup is the only instance in Hockey history where a team has won back-to-back World Cups. Rajinder Singh of India was the top goal scorer of the World Cup tournaments with 12 goals. This was the only consolation from the World Cup for the host nation, while its neighbor walked away with the big prize.