Pakistan’s one more shot at the unconquered territory.
By Mazher Arshad on September 29th, 2012

Parted just sixty-five years ago, both the teams seem to have rivalry as antique as of the Mongooses and the Cobras. And the pugnacity is akin to the roommates tussling for getting into bath first in a typical morning of a dorm.

So India and Pakistan’s arch-rivalry has come full circle over again on the backdrop of another ICC event. The protagonists from both the countries are holding their breath as they wait on another high-octane encounter to unfold on Sunday, a perfect day for all the razzmatazz. If the censuses are anything to go by, there will be 20 percent of the world population behind it. It could be viewed as Cricket’s El Clasico.

There isn’t any regret in saying Cricket is played between them amidst hostile environments. The hostility, however, for the goodness of the game and the countries, is not as grievous as to spark a football war. If not for this fragile harmony how could these contests be this much looked for? As the late Peter Roebuk once said: The Melbourne Cup might stop a nation. India versus Pakistan in the World Cup stops a subcontinent.

Although parted just sixty-five years ago, both the teams seem to have rivalry as antique as of the Mongooses and the Cobras. And the pugnacity is akin to the roommates tussling for getting into bath first in a typical morning of a dorm.

For both the teams, hell hath no fury like losing a match let alone in a world tournament. So spare a though for Pakistan who tasted defeat all the 7 times they locked horns. For some respite, they have won couple of times in the Champions Trophy but, like World Cup and World Twenty20, that tournament doesn’t have the W’ in it. Every Test playing team, apart from Pakistan, has defeated India in World Cups. Even Bangladesh defeated once, Zimbabwe too.

Come Sunday, Pakistan get one more chance to get into unconquered territory of India and take some stains out of its blemished record in the World Events. It is not that Pakistan had not been competitive enough to beat India. Beside their overall better head-to-head record, many times, such as in Bangalore 1996 and Manchester 1999, Pakistan started off as clear favourites yet they were also-rans. Even tomorrow, if we don’t look teams on papers, Pakistan would be in a pole position, for they have won 6 out of their last seven Twennty20 Internationals (the one they lost was a dead-rubber) and have the winning momentum with them – they hitherto are the only undefeated team along with Australia in this World T20.

Also spare a thought for Pakistan’s marquee players, Wasim Akram and Saeed Anward for example, who could never defeat India in World Cups three times they played. Or Inzamam-ul-Haq, who played four times. Even Shahid Afridi whose losing streak reads as 5 consecutive matches in the World events. Afridi now crossroad of his career may well be playing his last such match against India as next high-prolific Indo-Pak encounter isn’t possible before 2014 and it remains to be seen if Afridi can add two more years in his international career. Contrary to Pakistan players, Sachin Tendulkar played 5 World Cup matches, he saw India winning it all the five teams and for good measures he was Man of the Match in 3 times.

But, tomorrow, India will be under a lot more hot water. They face an elimination threat for the third successive time in Super Eight Round of World Twnety20s since winning it in 2007. If  they lose tomorrow and Australia beat South Africa, they will be knocked out even before playing their last match. Pakistan though won’t have any such threat at least in game against India.

There will be lot of eyes set on players for this marquee clash, and there will be some IPL buyers lined up too. As the governments of both the countries have gone less hawkish to each other lately and the deadlock seems to be at end, it is likely that players from Pakistan will be featuring in the next IPL. It just took one hostile spell of pace and a bruised finger of Ricky Ponting at the WACA to fetch Kemar Roach a whopping $720,000 IPL deal. It is just as likely that a player like Nasir Jamshed or Raza Hassan may go on to emulate Roach’s bank statements with successful show against India.

Mohammad Hafeez tomorrow steps into the territory where four titans of Pakistan – Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shahid Afridi – chanced their arms as captains and returned defeated. Hafeez might not much legacies of his predecessors but he is a strong part of Pakistan’s unit. Strong enough that, tomorrow, he will be playing 100th consecutive international match since making his comeback in 2010.

Those who started to follow Pakistan Cricket in the late 90’s, they had two big hopes from their team. First: to beat India in a World Cup match. Second: to win a Test against Australia. The second hope fulfilled two years back in Leeds. Can Mohammad Hafeez fulfill the first in Colombo?

Mazher Arshad is a freelance Cricket writer, he tweets here.



4 Responses to “Pakistan’s one more shot at the unconquered territory.”

  1. Imran says:

    Mohammad Hafeez tomorrow steps into the territory where four titans of Pakistan – Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shahid Afridi – chanced their arms as captains and returned defeated

    Shaoib malik also played as captain :S

  2. so did aamir sohail. thats why i said titans (big names).

  3. Naqash Ali says:

    pakistan wil win easily jo b ho pak win… creat histroy paki boys.

  4. Ashhar says:

    nice article. pakistan shud’ve dfeated India in 2003 world cup with 2 Ws. i think pak stand no match against India

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