Minister of Sports, Vijay Goel, has categorically denied the possibility of a potential India-Pakistan bilateral cricket series in near future, as long as India takes the brunt of the terrorist activities across the border.
While the reason for discontinuation of bilateral ties is definitely logical and acceptable but as ardent and die-hard cricket fans, we miss the adrenaline rush we used to get while watching bilateral ties between the hostile countries. Matches between them are now limited to ICC events.
MY FIRST SURREAL EXPERIENCE
I still remember the goosebumps that I got while singing VANDE MATARAM at Kolkata when India faced its bitter arch rivals, Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cup. I clearly remember Wahab Riaz fielding at third man which was quite close to where I was sitting and spectators beside me shouting,
“Dum hai to Kohli Ka wicket Leke Dikha”.
Kohli bowing in respect and dedicating his match winning half century to Sachin Tendulkar is imprinted in my mind forever.
Cricket is probably the first outfield game one learns as an Indian and being a die hard cricket enthusiast, I have been to several cricket grounds to watch my team battle it out with the rest of the world but none has been able to match the aggression, the intensity, the euphoric feeling that I witnessed that day in Eden Gardens.
The semi-final match against Pakistan in 2011 is famously remembered as the match which was more important than the Final. Needless to mention about the patriotic feeling we all felt on that D- Day which stopped time and brought the whole country together to watch the match in unison.
ANTAGONISM BY POLITICAL OUTFITS
The only blot in such matches is the trouble caused by political parties with the motive of garnering votes and gaining public sympathy.
Matches played in India have sometimes escalated tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims. Once Bal Thackeray declared that he wanted to see Indian Muslims with tears in their eyes every time India loses to Pakistan to prove they did not support their neighbors. This gave rise to unnecessary rifts among the two sects.
Since the Mumbai Attacks in 2008, the countries have only played a three match one-day series in India in 2012-13.
MUTUAL LOVE FOR CRICKET
When India first toured Pakistan, the border crossing was opened and 10,000 Indian fans traveled to watch the match in Pakistan. Opposing fans have always appreciated and enjoyed the bittersweet rivalry between the two neighbors.
It remains to be seen who wins the match in the upcoming Champions Trophy. As a childhood fan of India – Pakistan cricket rivalry, I cannot wait anymore for the 4th of June to come sooner.