India and Pakistan Rivalry Heats Up

When it comes to cricket matches, nothing compares to watching India and Pakistan battle it out on the pitch. If anything is common between the two teams’ countries, it’s that cricket is just as important as their religion – sometimes, even more. That’s 20% of the world’s population wearing either green or blue on any given day. No other sports rivalry can match the intensity between the two countries who generally don’t see eye-to-eye – but come match time, both teams display camaraderie towards one another. 

It’s fun watching two teams go head-to-head, knowing the significance of the match. Not even the great football rivalry between Brazil and Argentina or the baseball rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have the same amount at stake. All the players shine (or at least try to provide a significant performance) during matches with the competition on the pitch ramping up in intensity. One would then expect matches between the two to be heated. Rather, it’s the complete opposite: players do their best to promote peace and order during matches, much like ambassadors. 

This was evident during the Champions Trophy in 2017 when Virat Kohli humbly accepted the loss dealt to them by underdog Pakistan. Often, the part where one needs to consistently display leadership and diplomacy falls to athletes like Kohli. Sadly though, the worsening relationship between India and Pakistan politically is being used in cricket as well, where politicians use the sport as a propaganda tool. And, because of the respective governing cricket bodies (Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)) in perpetual hate towards each other, India and Pakistan haven’t played a Test match against each other since 2007. 

India’s government prohibits the country’s cricket team from playing against Pakistan. Hence, the only time the two teams meet is in international tournaments such as the Cricket World Cup last year where India destroyed Pakistan. However, the rivalry between the two teams could be renewed at the Asia Cup in September but as usual, the tournament is still on shaky foundation because India and Pakistan, the hosts of the tournament, are continuously criticizing the tournament. 

The BCCI, the richest and most powerful governing body in cricket, demanded that the tournament be moved to a neutral venue. ‘The question isn’t about the PCB hosting the tournament. It is about the venue and as things stand now, it is quite clear that we would need a neutral venue’, said a BCCI official. ‘There is no way that an Indian team can visit Pakistan to even participate in a multi-nation event like the Asia Cup. If the Asian Cricket Council is okay with an Asia Cup minus India then it is a different ball game. But if India is to participate in the Asia Cup, then the venue cannot be Pakistan’. In response, Pakistan threatened to drop themselves from next year’s T20 World Cup in India.

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