Rivalry from borders to boundaries
Sports Gazette takes a look at the history of the Ind-Pak rivalry before the commencement of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
Separation brings with it bittersweet feelings. An India versus Pakistan cricket match is a perfect example of the statement. To put further light on this, one needs to rewind to 1947.
The year 1947 witnessed the Partition. This was the period when the British withdrew their rule over India and two new countries were formed. India being predominantly a Hindu state, whereas, Pakistan being a Muslim state.
Both the countries witnessed the killings of their countrymen during the Partition and the three wars fought between them. These happenings made it quite evident that rivalry would creep into every event the nations participated in. Cricket was no exception.
Till date the India- Pakistan cricket match is the greatest rivalry in sport. The main reason is the history that the two nations have shared. Apart from their history, it is the passion for the game and their respective countries that gives air to the animosity.
The sport which both countries inherited from the Britishers is almost like a religion to them. The passion towards the India- Pakistan contest can be seen in events in which followers of the sport are involved. In 1989, fans in Calcutta (India) hurled bottles and fruits at Pakistani players after a controversial call. The match ended in an empty stadium.
In yet another chilling incident, Pakistan had lost against India. One Pakistani fan managed to empty the clip of an AK-47 into his television set. After this he took his own life. In India, people have taken the support of social media to express their feelings regarding the India- Pakistan encounter. Trolling each other has become a common occurrence during this competition.
Politics doesn’t lag behind in adding fuel to the fire. During last year’s ICC World T20, India was scheduled to host Pakistan at the HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala. The Himachal Pradesh (India) government authorities raised opposition. The explanation given was lack of security in the state since it is a sensitive zone. They did not wish to take a risk because Pakistani players would be playing there.
Due to the excuses provided, the ICC was forced to change the venue to Eden Gardens, Kolkata (India). There have been several other instances when the ICC has faced difficulties while scheduling a series due to the security concerns faced by the arch-rivals.
Terrorism and the state- border conflicts have kept reminding the public about the enmity between the countries.
Meanwhile, the players have chosen to show sportsman spirit and keep it simple. Talking about the rivalry, former India opener, Virender Sehwag once said, “We have been friends. To paint us enemies was hilarious.”
Former Pakistan Test Captain, Misbah ul Haq also believes that it is just another encounter. While addressing a press conference he had said, “You don’t have to worry about what’s happening outside, what’s going on in the countries. I think you need to focus on your game, go there, and play your best.”
Although, on- field fights and sledging show a totally different picture.
Changing times have changed the way people view this rivalry.