Indian hockey has found itself in an unexpected crisis in terms of equipment in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack. The growing tension between India and Pakistan has led to a difficulty in importing hockey sticks from across the border, according a report by The Indian Express.
With the Indian government removing Pakistan from its Most Favoured Nation list and the subsequent rise in customs duty to 200%, it has become nearly impossible to export goods to India. With the majority of sports good manufacturers in India focusing their businesses on cricket, Pakistan was providing 90% of the hockey sticks that were used in India.
In 2015-16, the Department of Commerce estimated the value of sticks imported from Pakistan to be Rs 24.48 lakh. This figure jumped to Rs 2 crore by December 2018, continued the report.
A big reason for Indian players’ preference for the Pakistani hockey sticks is the sheer difference in quality. “A ball hit with the best available Indian stick travels at a speed of 80-90 kmph whereas even the second-best Pakistani stick will send the ball flying at approximately 140 kmph. There is a vast difference in quality,” The Indian Express quoted a former national coach as saying.
Indian manufacturers have argued that the difficulty in acquiring raw materials is the reason for the poor quality of hockey sticks. But with Pakistani goods being taken out of the picture, they see an opportunity to tap into the market.