Wednesday, June 11, 2008

India thump Pakistan in Kitply Cup: Is it a new phase in India-Pakistan cricket clashes?

By John Cheeran
India recorded its biggest fifty-fifty international victory (by a margin of 140 runs) against neighbours Pakistan on Tuesday and it seems none seems bothered. At least, in India. The venue was Mirpur in Bangladesh and that makes the fratricide within the subcontinent complete. I remember another high scoring match played in Bangladesh at the end of the 90s when chasing Pakistan’s 300-plus score, India won thanks to a last over boundary by Hrishikesh Kanitkar. We all thought that was a memorable win.
On Tuesday, June 10, 2008, India scored 330 and won with astonishing ease employing what Times of India called a second line of attack which is quite true. And as statisticians point out, India stopped Pakistan’s 11-game (or is it 12?) winning streak orchestrated under an Aussie coach, Geoff Lawson.
But why the nation has stopped paying much attention? What should have been termed a historic (that is, if you go by the size of the victory margin, India beat Pakistan by 140 runs in its first match of Kitplay Cup) victory was not even mentioned by The Times of India in its front page except for a blurb.
The DNA did not gloat either, though to play it safe, it had a picture from Mirpur on its front page. Even in its sport page, Euro 2008 had taken more space than the crushing win over brothers-turned-enemies.
Even abroad, where patriotism is usually at fever pitch than at home, there was an surprising lack of interest in India’s match against Pakistan in Kitplay Cup. In places such as Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi where a vast majority from Pakistan and India work shoulder to shoulder, they forgot that such a match is on. The fervor was terribly lacking not only on the day of the match, on the day after too.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) had triggered more passion and the ongoing Euro 2008 has killed of whatever residue interest is left for the Indo-Pak rivalry. No wonder then that Pakistani all rounder Shahid Afridi bemoaned in the Times of India the lack of frisson going into a match with India, for the first time in his living memory.
It is not just Euro 2008 and the IPL that has taken the sting out of the rivalry between India and Pakistan. Too many matches between India and Pakistan have killed the flow of adrenalin on both sides of border and we have finally entered the land of boredom.
And just after the Kitplay Cup, the Asia Cup starts on June 24, again among the same set of teams, plus Sri Lanka. At one level, as the boy discovers the girl, and all passion is spent, this return to normalcy on cricket pitch is highly welcome. May be in another few years, the result of a cricket match between India and Pakistan will lack all news value in much the same fashion as a match between Indian footballers and Pakistan footballers these days. Or for that matter, who knows when did India play Pakistan on the hockey field, and again, who won the match?
Trend spotters would be eager to jump in and say that the Indian Premier League, where all most all of the city-centric Indian clubs had employed a large number of Australians and Pakistani players, has contributed in blunting the edge of the patriotism knife.
Quite possible. When the Kolkata crowd, which had stoned Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for obstructing Sachin Tendulkar’s path to contribute to his run out, and disrupted the Asian Test Championship match in a fit of patriotism, begins to hail the same bowler as a hero in the Indian Premier League, there should be a shift in attitude. May be, just may be.


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Anonymous said...

NOW NOW NOW...I hope you have your cricket gear on - cause I am going to google(or googley) you over.

India is a huge nation of cricket lovers, which gets more than its share of goodies. There is no other game that can even come close to this great game in India atleast in the next 20 or 40 years.
Do you think chess or T.T or snooker or Tennis will takeover? 2 nephews love to watch football and talk about arsenal vs liverpool and the european league games (not to forget PS3's and PSP's too!) with absolute passion for the sport. And they are just 12 and 7.

Its true as you point out that India and Pakistan games are emotional and intense. But I think its usually intellectually unsatisfying. Having to reflect on just one game between the two sides cannot justify the sanctity of the attitude of the game. ven Journalists know that hense no mention of the game!!!!

Cricket has overdosed itself and its time for standing up and saying India is crickoholic and we have had enough. ;-) Now you decide which side are you on?---------------------------Distinguished Blogger------------

John Cheeran at Blogged