Match referee of India-Belgium men’s hockey semi-finals at Tokyo 2020 played cricket with Mohammad Kaif

The referee during the semi-finals was from Netherlands, named Coen van Bunge.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 4 August 2021 3:45 pm

The ongoing Tokyo Olympics 2020 has produced some really exciting stories for fans across the globe. One of the moments that caught everyone's attention was when Australian cricketer Mitchell Starc's brother Brandon Starc represented the country in the finals of the men's high jump event. Another unique connection between two different sports was seen once again during the men's hockey semi-finals between India and Belgium.

Surprisingly, it was the referee who got the limelight during the match as he awarded 14 penalty corners to Belgium. He made some controversial calls which angered many as people thought that India were hard done by referee's errors. Although the match was done and dusted in the end as Belgium emerged as well-deserved winners, the focus is back on the referee whose connection with cricket has come as a major surprise to everyone.

Unbelievable connection between cricket and hockey

The referee during the India-Belgium game was from the Netherlands, named Coen van Bunge. He is notably the brother of Dutch leg spinner Daan van Bunge. The 38-year-old has played 37 ODIs and 14 T20Is for his national side. However, he got the spotlight when he was smashed for six consecutive sixes in an over by former South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs during ODI World Cup 2007 in West Indies.

When fans got to know about this, there were some hilarious comments which flooded Twitter. One of the users funnily claimed that while one brother concedes back-to-back sixes, the other one gives back-to-back penalty corners.

Interestingly, it has also been revealed that Coen van Bunge himself has also played cricket in his early days. He was notably part of the Netherlands side that played in the Under-15 Challenge Cup along with his brother. It must be noted that India had eventually gone on to win the tournament under the leadership of Reetinder Sodhi and also featured Mohammad Kaif in the side.

This exciting connection once again reflects that we indeed live in a very small world. While the Indian fans would not be very thrilled with the referee, one just can't ignore what the two brothers from the Netherlands have achieved in their respective sports for which they certainly deserve a lot of praise.

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