Call it a fierce rivalry or a hyped phenomenon, Sunday’s India-Pakistan encounter at Edgbaston would see two nations worth a population of greater than a 2 billion, persuading their Allah, Bhagwan, and Jesus. All for what Wasim Akram stated in the Kapil Sharma show “Kuch bhi ho jaaye, India se nahi haarna hai!” with a nodding Sidhu acknowledging the mutual pressure. Tendulkar and Sehwag might have been prodigies of the 90s. Only to acquire a divine status when they could shatter the deadly Pakistani pace trio of Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram in 2003.
The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry has gathered a new dimension ever since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Suggested now was suspension of cricket with Pakistan and attempts to prosper bilateral ties, for they could be a threat to India’s security and sovereignty. In the period that ensued, the 2 live wires of cricket in Asia have chanced upon each other in tournaments with India prevailing in crunch situations if not being outright dominant. The Inaugural World T20 Final in Johannesburg, with Mishbah-ul-Haq scooping a short ball for a perfect catch by Sreesanth didn’t just make India the World T20 Champions but ensured that the World Cup humiliation streak continues for Pakistan. For India, it was about winning the world, Pakistan ko harake! Come 2011 and roars of the Star Broadcaster’s “Mauka Mauka” in an electric World Cup Semi final and Bamn! A well-fought 56(134) by Misbah, but not enough to get them their Mauka.
Beyond the Rivalry: Situation outside the ground
Cross border tensions spewed hatred between the two cricketing nations. Therefore, building bilateral relations on cricketing odysseys was not intelligent. The hoopla around them meeting in ICC tournaments received a humongous facelift, courtesy the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) purposefully snubbing each other whenever talks of a bilateral series gained ground. The rarity of an India-Pakistan clash became ever so pronounced and a cricketing rivalry was at its zenith. Indian cricket went from strength to strength in scaling its monetary power, influence and the BCCI becoming the richest cricket board in the world. Also, an able patron of nations whose cricketing fortunes were jammed in a rut, Zimbabwe comes to mind! The cash-rich Indian Premier League extravaganza exposed local talent to international talent and influences while barring Pakistan to field its players, the two nations were effectively driving themselves forward on the premise of loathing the other.
Pakistan cricket on the other hand had an arduous journey. The 2009 terror attacks on the touring Sri Lankan team impelled the ICC to execute an embargo on international cricket in Pakistan. Thus, the revenues of the PCB hit a severe low. An incensed nation with talented youngsters not suitably rewarded was fished by bookies. As a result, talents like Mohammad Asif and Danish Kaneria had to lose their careers.
Call it an English conspiracy that the most dreaded pace battery (of Pakistan) and stirring batting line-up (Of India) could never barge on the field as a United
Team. What if? Worst of the Partition, maybe?
Well, whom are the left-liberals supporting tomorrow? Ouch! The upcoming clash between the two teams in the Champions Trophy 2017 is heavily tilted in India’s favor. The reason being their head-to-head record against each other. India hold an unbeaten record against Pakistan in the ODI world cups as well as the world T20s #MaukaMauka
The match on 4rth June comes after a long wait and hence an unofficial national holiday on the cards. And it is a Sunday! Thank god for people wouldn’t have to use their wits to fool their HR, bosses or professors. Deserted roads, quaint public transport and all eyes glued onto the Television sets. And not to forget all those brainless and awkward actions, sitting postures and infinite prayers until India wins. It isn’t easy being a god in the subcontinent.
Pity you Oh Lord!
This wouldn’t be just another game as Pakistan Batsman Azhar Ali recently stated. Pillared by prolonged history of political and social turbulence, India-Pakistan cricket games can never be just another game.
I can assuredly claim that tomorrow’s match will be going in India’s favor. However, mind you, off the 3 Champion’s Trophy encounters, Pakistan has won 2 and India 1 and hence Pakistan’s capability of springing a surprise can’t be neglected. To ward of this potential evil, it is time to get the quintessential Nimbu Mirchi out. Because nazar na lag jaaye is a completely rational fear. Don’t believe me? Ask your moms!
Shout-Out: Indiaaaaaa! Indiaaaaa! Indiaaa! Indiaaaaa!