Each time India and Pakistan face each other in the field, there is an anxiety that refuses to subside. Cricket was never just a game between the two nations. It was an amalgamation of bruised egos, national prides and a hunger for supremacy.

“Cricket is a pressure game, and when it comes to an India-Pakistan match the viagra 100mg pressure is doubled.”- Imran Khan
“…although my first reaction is to walk when I am dismissed; the only team against whom I would not do so is Pakistan….” Sunil Gavaskar

These quotes from two of the greatest cricketers that India and Pakistan have ever produced will give you a fair idea of how fierce the rivalry is. This year’s Champion’s Trophy on England will show us another chapter in this age old rivalry that engulfs the two nations in frenzy. The rivalry is mired in everything, from communal overtones to the three wars which the three countries have fought over the years. In between, there is the cricket, which for a long time went Pakistan’s way due to their clear superiority as a team and it is only in the recent past (if you call 2004 onwards as recent) that India started calling the shots after the historic win in Pakistan in 2004, in both Test and ODI series.

Miandad – The “Villain”

However, it needs to be kept in mind that although Pakistan steamrolled India after the resumption of ties in 1978 in Pakistan, India won the return series in 1979 through the efforts of Kapil Dev who was simply magnificent throughout the series. The rivalry had been on an even keel due to the efforts of Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Sunil Gavaskar and Javed Miandad for quite a while till that fateful day in April 1986, when Javed Miandad hit Chetan Sharma for the shot that was heard ‘across the length and breadth of the sub continent’. It was a match that India were supposed to win when Pakistan required 4 runs to win off the last ball to lift the Australasia Cup but Miandad’s last ball six over mid wicket sent two nations in two different emotional states- one into delirium and the other into depression.

Tendulkar – “The Hero of Cricket”

The fairest sporting comparison that one can make of that single incident is Brazil’s defeat in the World Cup final in 1950 at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, when they lost to Uruguay after leading by a goal for most of the match. It is reported that the reversal caused thousands of Brazilians to commit suicide and although there is no reported proof if any Indian cricket fan committed suicide or not, it is safe to say that a whole nation went into depression and Javed Miandad probably became the biggest villain in the eyes of any Indian. Conversely, he became one of Pakistan’s biggest heroes not only for that stroke but also due to the fact that he always performed at his best versus India. Miandad was the mascot of India-Pakistan rivalry for a long time and veteran sports journalist Sharda Ugra sums it up beautifully, “If Sachin Tendulkar was like Superman of India, Miandad was like his villainous counterpart, perhaps dressed in a black uniform. He was the one person whose career was built on making Indians feel miserable”.

Story continues – Champions Trophy 2013

ICC Champions Trophy 2013 3 300x257 Champions Trophy 2013   An Unending Rivalry In Cricket

As you can see, for a long time the shadow of Javed Miandad loomed large on the psyche of Indian team and the Indian fan since they seemed to have realised that if Miandad was at the crease then Pakistan won’t lose. So, that was the chapter about Javed Miandad and since his retirement there have been other mascots who have stood up as the emblems of the rivalry. If it was Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Shoaib Akhtar, Saeed Anwar, Anil Kumble, Wasim Akram and Inzimam ul Haq in the 1990s and 20o0s, then it is Virat Kohli, Saeed Ajmal, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Misbah ul Haq, and Junaid Khan at this moment. The two countries are always in a struggle for one-upmanship and India’s record against Pakistan is often invoked by Indian fans as an argument settler. On the other hand Pakistan fans have always taken solace in winning Test matches in India on a regular basis or by using that six as an argument settler. The players will come and go but the frenzy, the excitement, the palpitations of the cricket fan from either country will continue whenever the two countries meet. The fact that the tickets for the Champions Trophy was sold out in half an hour would give a neutral an idea of the sort of passion this game invokes and it will be no different on Saturday, the 15th of June.

As they say, it is more than a game.

Image source: IANS

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