Cricket is the most important sport in both India and Pakistan. In the case of India and Pakistan, bilateral series offer the exciting prospect not just of thrilling cricket matches, but also an opportunity to build bridges between cricket lovers in the two nations. In the past, Indo-Pak cricket series have been seen, on both sides of the border, as an extension of the traditional rivalry between the two countries. But now, perceptions are changing. The cricket pitch does not just bring two teams face to face, but matches in both India and Pakistan provide meaningful occasions for thousands to cross the border and savour the joys and highs and lows of cricket first-hand. Equally important, the mingling of people from the two nations at cricket venues on both sides of the border help in furthering people-to-people contact. Those who visit India get an insight into how eagerly Indians are ready to embrace people from across the border and Indians who visit Pakistan can see that not everybody in Pakistan is an India-hater as has often been made out.
The rivalry between the two nations, often called ‘the biggest rivalry in cricket’, remains razor sharp. This ‘biggest rivalry’, which incidentally is a high point not just for Indo-Pak cricket fans but everyone who follows cricket, has been barred more than once due to political conflicts between both the two nations. The first Test series between the countries took place 1951-52, when Pakistan toured India. The Indian cricket team went to Pakistan for the first time in 1954-55.
The longest duration when there was no cricket between India and Pakistan was from 1962 to 1977. The main reasons for this were the two wars that were fought between the countries in 1965 and 1971. The second time when cricket ties between the two nations were broken was during the 1999 Kargil War. This time, cricket remained on hold from 1999 till February 2004. The 26/11 attack in Mumbai in 2008 again severely affected relations between the two countries, and bilateral series were banned.
Now, the Indian government has once again used cricket as a tool to improve relations, which had became exceptionally fragile after the 26/11 Mumbai attack, with Pakistan. The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to resume cricket ties with the neighbouring country came as a surprise for many people, but was a shock for many others. This gives rise to a question : should cricket and politics be kept separate or should ‘ cricket diplomacy’ be used as a means to improve relations between two countries in which the game is followed as a religion, and the players are worshipped as God?
The biggest delight for an Indian or Pakistani cricket lover is to watch their respective teams playing against each other, and if the matches are played on the home soil of either country, so much the better. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed that the Pakistan Cricket Team will tour India for a three match One Day International (ODI) Series and two T20 matches between 23 December 2012 – 10 January 2013. This will be the first bilateral series between the countries after the Mumbai attack. Both the Boards have agreed to the proposal, and the series will be held during the 15 days window available in-between the Test and ODI series with England. The One Day matches will be played at New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata; and the two T20 matches will be played in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, a news reports said.
‘It was decided to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan by inviting the Pakistan Cricket Team for a short series in December 2012-January 2013,’ the Indian cricket Board, the BCCI, said in a press
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has welcomed the decision of BCCI to resume cricket ties. ‘The decision is great and we welcome it. It seems that millions of cricket fans have their wishes fulfilled,’ said PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf in Lahore.
However, Sunil Gavaskar, India’s most renowned opening batsman in his hey-day, has criticised the BCCI’s decision to revive Indo-Pak bilateral cricket ties. ‘Being a Mumbaikar, I feel what is the urgency when there is no cooperation from the other side,’ said Gavaskar.
The resumption of cricket matches between India and Pakistan may also open a window for Pakistani players in the Indian Premier League (IPL). If Pakistani umpires and coaches are allowed to participate in the IPL, then why are Pakistani players barred from playing in the format where cricketers from most other countries participate? People may criticise the BCCI for this decision and Mumbaikars who lost thei
r relatives will be hurt with this decision. Will cricket be able to act as the best balm for assuaging the feelings of those who have suffered on both sides of the border?
Players who have played for both India and Pakistan
No player has ever played for India after playing for Pakistan. Three players have played for Pakistan after appearing for India. They are:
- Amir Elahi – India (one test vs. Australia at Sydney in 1947), Pakistan (1952–53)
- Gul Mohammad – India (1946–55), Pakistan (one test vs. Australia at Karachi in 1956)
- Abdul Hafeez Kardar – India (1946–48), Pakistan (1948–58)
- Although Pakistan was created in 1947, GulMohammad continued to represent India until 1954, and played for India against Pakistan in Pakistan's first tour of India in 1951-52.
- India – 231 between Sachin Tendulkar & Navjot Singh Sidhu at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, on 15 April 1996.
- Pakistan – 230 between Saeed Anwar & Ijaz Ahmed at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka on 18 January 1998.
Best bowling figures
- Sourav Ganguly (India) – 5/16 at Toronto in 18 September1997.
- Aaqib Javed (Pakistan) – 7/37 runs at Sharjah on 25 October 1991.
Biggest victory margins
- Pakistan – 144 run victory at Delhi on 17 April 2005.
- Pakistan – 303/8 (50.0 overs).
- India – 159 (37 overs).
- India – 159 run victory at Dhaka on 10 June 2008.
- l India – 330/9 (50.0 overs).
- l Pakistan – 171 (35.4 overs).
Smallest victory margins
- Pakistan – 4 runs at Sharjah on 23 October 1993.
- l Pakistan – 257/8 (50.0 overs).
- l India – 253/7 (50.0 overs).
- India – won because they lost fewer wickets after scores were tied, Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium, Hyderabad, India on 20 March 1987.
India – 212/6 (44.0 overs maximum).
Pakistan – 212/7 (44.0 overs maximum).
Most extras in one ODI
- India – 41 extras at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali on 8 November 2007.
- Pakistan – 31 extras at Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club on 13 September.
Most catches by an individual in an innings
India – 4 catches
- Sunil Gavaskar at Sharjah on 22 March 1985.
- Mohammad Azharuddin at Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club on 13 September 1997.
- Sachin Tendulkar at Dhaka on 11 January 1998.
Pakistan – 4 catches
- Younis Khan at Keenan Stadium, Jamshedpur on 9 April 2005.
ODI matches summary
- Total 121 Matches – 48 won by India, 69 won by Pakistan. No result 4.
- 27 matches in India – 10 won by India, 17 won by Pakistan.
- 27 matches in Pakistan – 11 won by India, 14 won by Pakistan. No result 2.
- 67 matches in other countries. 27 won by India. 38 won by Pakistan. No result: 2 matches.