March 26, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011

Time for the mother of all battles

Nitin Sundar

Over the years, India v Pakistan has stopped evoking extreme emotions from people on either side of the border. Come Wednesday, however, when the two sides meet in the World Cup quarter-finals, emotions could run high, writes Soutik Biswas in the BBC website.

Will Wednesday mark a return to the old days of crude nationalism and jingoism? I hope not. I hope fans from India and the few thousand from across the border will be generous in their cheer for both the teams. Who can forget the time when Pakistan lost to India during the 1996 World Cup? Fans in Pakistan smashed TV sets, a college student fired a hail of bullets from a Kalashnikov into his TV set and then on himself, another fan died of a heart attack, captain Wasim Akram received death threats, a fan filed a petition in the court against the "disappointing performance" and a cleric said Pakistan would never win at cricket so long as a woman - Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister - ruled the country. Even the plane carrying the players had to be diverted to Karachi as irate fans waited in Lahore carrying expletive-laced banners and rotten eggs. Surely such passions have abated with the passage of time.

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Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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