The Mother of all Sports Rivalry
30.03.2011 is one of those days in the history of sports where the space scientists and sky observers may observe some extra lightings in the night time in a particular region of the world called the Indian Sub Continent. Someone from the unaware world could misunderstand to be the new year or christmas or Diwali or anything. The sports fans could mistake it for a major finals of a sports. However, only the people on the either side of the ‘Wagah Border’ would know the reason. The fans who bought the ticket for 2000 euros and the gamblers who have made the total amount bet to more than 100000000 INR (i.e. 20000000 euros approximately) will know the reason.
Liverpool – Manchester United, Inter Milan – AC Milan, El Classicó , Sampras – Agassi, Nadal – Federer are a few rivalries in sports which spring to mind at the moment to start my blog. The banter amongst the fans is mild the passion is immense. However, besides these popular sports (football and tennis), when two countries meet each other in a leaisure sport which 10 nations from the more than 200 nations in a world play called Cricket. And once every 4 years with 6 other nations they come together and play a competetion called the World Cup of Cricket.
The 6 nations only fill up numbers to provide some pride to the elder 10 brothers in the competition knowing very well the outcome of their future efforts even before the inaugural ceremony of the WC. Majority of the matches are one sided in these competitions and you can win a few quids if you do not follow your heart over brains. However, there comes a match if the 1.48 billion people in the world get lucky called ‘The Mother of All Sports Rivalry’ sometimes scheduled and sometimes by destiny.
1.48 billion know why it is not ‘just another sports match of the remaining human kind’ . It is not just another India – Pakistan match. It is WAR. Team players, captains and politicians are requesting the media to not brand it as the War. Little are they aware of the passion of the fans when they ask us to refrain from the word.
History exists between the nations, wars have happened, ideologies have been different but passions are the same — Cricket. We are sons of the same culture, share the same food, similar languages, same sports (I am gonna be butchered for this sentence here) but have the hatred of Communist USSR and Democratic USA when it comes to CRICKET. Little do we care if Qureshi – Bopanna pair win the US open to amend these bridges of hatred across the border.The dates are as follows
04.03.1992 – India vs Pakistan in Sydney, India won but Pakistan wins the WC.
09.03.1996 – India vs Pakistan in Bangalore, India won by 39 runs in QFs and India loses the SFs to eventual winners.
08.06.1999 – India vs Pakistan in Manchester, India won by 47 runs in the second round.Pakistan lost the Finals
01.03.2003 – India vs Pakistan in Centurion, India won by 6 wkts. India lost the Finals.
These results are well documented in the history books. However, a fan does not only know exactly where he was exalting in joy or grieving in sorrow at the end but also where and what happened in 7 hrs on the screen of the TV. Who said what before the game (‘ I know how to get him out’) or during the game (”Wahin ball daalega, wahin ball pahunchayunga’, ‘Pata hain tujhe, tunhe kiska catch choda hain’) but not after the game as a few commit suicide, some grieve and some make it a Diwali or Eid.
Images are imprinted – The Jumping Monkey and The pointing bat, The Six over third man and the fear of the losing Captain, The arrogance before and the humiliation after, The big plans and the media build up, The inflicted war and The Scotland Yard and The nuisance of political blamegame. Everything remains there.
An outstanding performance will build folklores for the person irrespective of the outcome of the Finals (though I am 200% confident whoever wins this match will clobber SL in the finals). The Captain of the team losing may have to run andhide for a few days. Imran Khan won the world cup and was spared the humiliation in 1992, Akram went to Pakistan after a month in Dubai and threats for life in 1996. Akram saved the repeat next time by reaching the finals in 1999. Waqar Younis in 2003 was already praying for life when Razzaq dropped the catch.
The few elite, priviliged and the lucky ones will boast for years to come how they saw The God demolish Pakistan or hope not repent the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ streamroll through the Indian Batting. (I just hope not again and again). How the Australian and English commentators will provoke the should be neutral Indian and Pakistani commentators for responses and reasons for a rivalry they dont understand and find it hard to accept is greater than ‘The Ashes’. Should they ask again, I suggest the Gavaskar’s, Raza’s and the broadcasters to show the imprinted images to them.
A foreigner would love the region without the people on the street as the fans will sit with family and friends watching the game at home or at work. Womenfolk will not ask for the remote for 7 hrs minimum and the police will not bother with the noise until 3 am next morning. Facebook wall be flooded with swears, score updating websites will be the source of becauchery with work for us NRIs (Non Residence Idiots), a newly born 1 billion population of experts will analyze the game later and the mistakes.
Everyone will be obsessed. A beha****d and a maa******d every boundary conceded and A ch****a for a bad shot played. If the game becomes tight like ’92, ’96 and 2003 games then the people will be statued in the space-time spectrum of the little good moment. (A wkt, a boundary or anything that relieves pressure). The moved person will curse himself internally for the motion if the end results of his movement is a pain bearing position. His reward for another iota of movement will be slaps, curses and swear. Dare I advise my cricket obsessed junta to find a comfortable place conveniently located from the TV screen, food table and maybe keep a pot below!!
Mark Zuckerburg will find out the strength of his servers tomorrow and may come to repent his decision tomorrow to allow Facebook for such quick expressions of statuses in India and Pakistan. How impatient are we, he will realize tomorrow?? If he thought his servers responded quickly on India – SA game, he shall seek THE TRUTH tomorrow.
Call us immature??Call it obsession??Call us crazy to die for a game? Or stupid to gamble and win a million?We do not care as this is India – Pakistan WC match. As you fail to understand my obsession, I fail to comprehend your nonchalant attitude towards such a historical event. To the very remote few who have not understood the significance of 30.03.2011 do not understand the relevance just join the obsession.
So my dear colleagues who have heard me bug yourselves all for the last few days with THE GAME, kindly understand it is ‘The Mother of all Sports Rivalry’.
I am gonna miss another Diwali in India again but this is one of it’s kind to be celebrated in Spring.
PS — Madrid, 1st Week of December 2008, I was walking the streets of Madrid with a CANADIAN and PAKISTANI friend discussing the then recently happened Mumbai Attacks and somehow after a stupid emotional outburst from my side me and my Pakistani Mate concluded an India – Pakistan WC final match was the best way to decide the Kashmir Issue