There is always a lot of hype every time India and Pakistan battle it out on the field (referring to cricket). For these two nations, cricket has always been more than just a game. India-Pakistan matches have been the most-watched and followed matches not only in the sub-continent, but around the world. The Ashes has lost its rivalry status to this age-old battle between the two neighbours.
This arch-rivalry between the two nations – stemming from the widespread communal violence and conflict that marked the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947 and the subsequent Kashmir conflict- laid the foundations for the rise of intense sporting competitiveness between the two nations who had previously shared a common cricketing heritage.
The first Test series between the two teams took place in 1951-52, when Pakistan toured India. India toured Pakistan for the first time in 1954-55. Between 1962 and 1977, no cricket was played between the two countries owing to two major wars in 1965 and 1971. The 1999 Kargil War and the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks have also disrupted cricketing ties between the two countries.
This rivalry has now taken another step, as none of the matches between the two giants happen without any controversy or an altercation between the players and the managements. With the addition of hot-blooded players like Virat Kohli and Md. Amir to both the teams, we can expect a delightful battle between the cricket-loving nations. This is what we got to see in the recently-concluded match in Asia Cup, when Virat Kohli gestured the way Shahid Afridi got run out by Ravindra Jadeja. Though this made spectators smile, the Indian Vice Captain was levied a fine by ICC for unprofessional conduct during the game.
Instead of letting them get inside our head, these minor squabbles during matches should always be treated as a healthy rivalry. This rivalry has always been famous for igniting anger in the players. Whether it’s Javed Miandad, Gautam Gambhir, Shahid Afridi or even Sachin Tendulkar; all of them have been victims of anger, subsequently suffering poor performances.
Cricket is just a game and should always be taken in that spirit only. Isn’t the off-field political rivalry making the game lose its charm?
Let the political legends from the neighbouring nations concentrate on the serious issues. A humble request to the players from India and Pakistan- to let rivalry create a healthy environment between the two countries and not otherwise.