How many times, in India or Pakistan, a cricket match between the countries is considered a cricket match between the countries?
Not even a single time.
Take that point in time when the schedule of a match between these neighbouring countries is announced, and then conclude at when the results are declared, and you would realize what excitement and zeal mean in this country. Green and blue mark everything, everywhere.
Betting, hawan and pooja sessions and pre-match strategic discussions, all are undertaken with unparalleled commitment to a single goal, Indiaaaaaa India! You’ll see nothing else, literally, on your social media feeds, except motivational (i.e. funny at Pak’s expense) updates for Team India a few days before the match, to straight-forward insults (for you-know-who) till days after we win.
Be it swearing at the love-of-our-lives (Ahem, Virat’s here) for that single potential shot they missed, or praising, even blessing, the green-clad men for every (damn easy) catch they miss. From mini- heart-attacks to dances of pure joy, our countrymen live it all in moments like these. A moment in sport is altered to a life-changing experience.
Now, how many times, in India, an India vs. Some-Other-Country cricket match is awaited as much as an India vs. Pakistan cricket match?
Not even a single time.
Sure, it is a reason to celebrate when India wins over countries like South Africa or Australia or Sri Lanka. But then, it’s an all-dancing festival when India wins over Pakistan. So to speak, beating South Africa, as India recently did, (yayyyyyyy!) is a bigger deal than beating Pakistan (duh!), but when it comes to celebrating victories, no single country is as special to us as Pakistan.
The India-Pak victory was celebrated with unparalleled enthusiasm, not because India won as they were in their best form et al, but because they beat Pakistan, period. If we notice countries like Australia and South Africa and England play, they do actually play. They actually play well. If India beats them, that supports the fact that we know how to play too. If India beats Pakistan, we become a force no one in this universe knows how to stop, regardless of Pakistan not being as strong a contender.
Sure, as India recently won against South Africa, people watched that match. What they did not do was stick to their seats for hours at a stretch and making sure not a single muscle moved in any way that could bring us any harm against Pakistan. Phew.
And why exactly is it so, you wonder?
Because, as very obvious from scenarios both recent and witnessed since ages, there are a lot of cricket fans in India. Then, there are a lot India-Pak fans in India. Those are the people who wouldn’t care for CWC or even cricket in general, but would participate whole-heartedly in this heap of craziness.
Then yes, there’s also cricket.
Well, now that you’ve mixed up two of India’s favourite creative stimulators such as these, voila, you will witness destinies being altered. Here’s how you’ll notice the difference between the two.
A cricket fan would know the schedule by heart, an India-Pak cricket fan would minus the day from their schedules. A cricket fan would analyse each and every step each and every player takes, an India-Pak cricket fan would perform each and every step he/she knows. A cricket fan might bite their nails as the end approaches, an India-Pak cricket fan would bite into everything they can, all while managing to not get up from their seats even once.
As to summarize, a cricket match is an everyday story.
A CWC Match then happens. Once in every while, we notice.
Then comes the India-Pak CWC Match, and the world comes to a halt.
By Snigdha Singh