September 26, 2009

And so it begins, again

After a period of overkill in the middle of this decade, cricket's most fraught rivalry has an edge again. Or does it?
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Oddly enough, in all these years of writing about cricket, I have never watched a 50-over match between India and Pakistan at a cricket ground. I have watched Tests in Lahore, Bangalore and Chennai, and the World Twenty20 final in Johannesburg, but never an ODI, the genre that has engendered much of the passion between the fans of these two countries, where cricket has always been close to the national identity. I was at the 2007 World Cup, but India and Pakistan were in different groups, and in any case both the teams had gone home in disgrace by the time I landed.

So here it is then, it's that time again when cricket acquires an edgy subtext. For a long while this decade, familiarity threatened to breed tedium. But India and Pakistan haven't played each other for more than year - 14 months, 22 days to be exact, and the world has changed quite a bit in between, so inevitably, though not ideally, it will be a bit more than cricket at SuperSport Park in Centurion on September 26.

Without the friction, the edge, and occasionally even the mean spirit that great rivalries bring, sport will be sterile. India and Pakistan provide all these on a cricket field, but with them, cricket has managed to not merely remain a sport. Sometimes it has been a salve, sometimes a weapon; it has enabled bonding and it has divided; at times it has been a bridge, at others a vehicle for ugly chauvinism; and governments have used it as both a handshake as well a show of fists. Consequently, cricket has provided both India and Pakistan with some beautiful and uplifting moments, as well some noxious ones.

The Ashes, cricket's original big rivalry, and the more traditional, begins and ends on the playing field. Indian and Pakistani cricketers have rarely had that simple luxury, because for their nations the cricket rivalry has always been a small, but profoundly symbolic, part of a bigger, far more complex rivalry. And for the major part of their cricket history neither the players nor the fans have managed to escape this. It has been a burden.

It seemed on India's tour of Pakistan in 2004 that a breakthrough had been made. No one who went on that tour came back untouched by the swell of goodwill and fellow-feeling, and it carried on when Pakistan toured India the following year. However, as the cricket boards, which had always been bound by mutual interest, worked overtime to milk the situation, things began to change.

The teams started playing every year. India went back for a full series in 2006; the same year the two sides played in Abu Dhabi and Glasgow; Pakistan toured for a full series in 2007; in 2008 they took part in the forgettable Kitply Cup, also featuring Bangladesh, in Dhaka, and then in the Asia Cup in Pakistan.

From a pure cricket point of view, it was overkill. It took away the anticipation and the intensity. But from a larger perspective, it also took away the heat and emotional charge, and that was not a bad thing at all. Since they were always playing, wins and losses no no longer felt like life and death. It felt somewhat dull, but it also felt sane.

The Ashes, cricket's original big rivalry, and the more traditional, begins and ends on the playing field. Indian and Pakistani cricketers have rarely had that simple luxury, because for their nations the cricket rivalry has always been a small, but profoundly symbolic, part of a bigger, far more complex rivalry

It's hard to imagine the players wouldn't have found that liberating. After all, no one takes to a game to avenge a nation's honour - though from Indian and Pakistani cricketers, their fans had come to expect nothing less. So even though many of the players were friends off the field, often sharing meals in restaurants and at homes, and schoolboy jokes, they were expected to growl and snarl at each other on the cricket field.

Once the pressure eased, they could allow themselves to be themselves. It wasn't a coincidence that no captain lost his job on account of a loss to the old enemy in this period. And, inevitably, when the Indian Premier League came, Pakistanis constituted the second largest pool of foreign players. They could have been the largest if the Indian Cricket League hadn't appropriated a big lot already.

And then, with the Mumbai terror attack, the landscape changed again. It was clear from the moment it was known that those who burned and killed in Mumbai had come from Pakistan that cricket was bound be affected, and so it was. The first diplomatic response from the Indian government was to cancel the impending cricket tour to Pakistan. It was no more than symbolic, but it was most convenient.

So on Saturday in Centurion there will be yet another resumption of cricket's most fraught rivalry. The governments are talking again, and somehow the build-up has been far less frenzied for this match. In fact, it's been almost muted. Perhaps that is because it's only a one-off, and at a neutral venue, and the Champions Trophy has never been such a big deal. Or is it a sign?

I am looking forward to my first one-day match between India and Pakistan. I am hoping it turns out to be as good as the last one these teams played at this ground. It will be naïve to expect cricket to sort out our countries' problems, but in understanding the meaning of sport there can be a beginning.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mnbaig on September 28, 2009, 16:19 GMT

    Match was good and the spirit in the match was good too. As for as the results are concerned, the team played good won the game. If I am not wrong Indian side is the best at the moment and in the ICC ranking they are the number 1. It is very shocking and surprising that the number 2 in ICC ranking is out of the contest, I don't think that they played bad. They did their best but unfortunately luck did not favor them and I have a strong believe that team India is going through the same situation too. Now because of rain India has to make 263 runs in 42 overs to win the game and it will be heart breaking if they loose against Australia, they will have to pack up and go back home disappointed. The reception they will get at home will be rough too. I request to the people, especially the fans of crikcket in India, please don't disrespect them. Welcome them with open heart and pay them respect as much as they can. Winning and loosing is a part of the game and it should not be a criteria.

  • afridi102 on September 28, 2009, 9:04 GMT

    That was a wonderfoul cricket match... I think that this match alone prove the importance of 50 over cricket... There were so many up and down for both teams in the match, that was too exiting. I was very happy that pakistan won, superb innings from yousuf and malik, superb spells by afridi and ajmal. I hope to see more matches between these two teams, you just can't get better...

  • mnbaig on September 27, 2009, 22:15 GMT

    It was a very interesting game and I enjoyed watching it. I don't want to go in to the discussion of who is better/strong or weak but would like to say that team who took the advantages of the weaknesses of the other team won the game. It does not proove that the losing team is weak or the winning is better. If we see the history of these two teams, the fact is that Pakistan has won more matches over India which means that the overall rating goes in favor of Pakistan and there is no doubt about it that the Pakistan side is a world class side. As other experts say this team is unpredictable and can produce miracles and we have seen these miracles in the past. In recent T20 this team rose up once again and won the trophy by beating heart favorites and Sri Lanka in the final. I don't want to be prejudiced in sports and would like to say that the team India is the most strong team in the world and iin the tournament. I suggest commentators to be unbaised against Pakistan when 2 teams play.

  • rookie4u on September 27, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    What a match it has been ... This is the beauty of ODI's. You can get a demo of every aspect of cricket in it. Like the way Malik, Yousuf, Gambhir batted or the way Nehra, Aamer, Ajmal, Afridi bowled or the way Younis brought a important run-out... I mean a proper cricket allround... Who says we need a change in this format... Games like these are always to be remembered.. Rivalry has been taken to its extreme. A typical Indo-Pak encounter and we all must agree that Pakistan at the end of the day proved to be more than handful though they were somehow evenly balanced with absence of all-timers like Zaheer, Shoaib, Asif, Yuvi, Viru ... Hope Pakistan plays with same intensity against a very new looking Aussies.. Good Luck to them.

  • jamrith on September 27, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    Pakistan was by far the better team man for man and this time they played well as a team ; India could have come closer but panicked and Harbhajan continued to prove his critics right, he is a spent force . Well done Pakistan, they can definitely go all the way and win the Champions Trophy crowning a great 2009 for them.

  • cricinformer on September 27, 2009, 2:07 GMT

    i simply can't stop laughing at 'sreedhar2love'... seems like everything went completely opposite to his plans... tendulkar was the worst performer in the match and guess what... it was the 17 year old aamer who struck him out... hahaha

  • henchart on September 27, 2009, 2:01 GMT

    Pakistan has won but no need to go overboard.For IND The battle might have been lost but the war still remains to be won.Ind might pull it across Aus and beat WI handsomely.Pakistan could lose to Aus and get eliminated through NRR. Unlikely but not impossible.Point is ,the group is wide open till Monday when Ind play Aus.The advantage Ind has is they play the last league game of their group against minnows and can monitor the NRR more than Pak or Aus, who could face each other in a QF situation .Ind must Drop RP and bring in Amit Misra .

  • mumbaiguy79 on September 27, 2009, 1:31 GMT

    Since my predictions are going so well, here's one more :-)

    Pakistan and India go through to the semis..Pak play South Africa (South Africa all out 220 runs and Pakistan win by 9 wickets)...India play Sri Lanka and lose (can't predict here what will happen here). So Pakistan square off with Sri Lanka and win by 10 wickets..

    Bottomline: Pakistan will win the Champions Trophy..;-)

  • ali.majaz on September 26, 2009, 23:53 GMT

    AMAZING.....PAKISTAN WINS

    What a match this was , one of the most memorable victory of PAKISTAN over INDIA...this is the beauty of IND vs PAKISTAN, I'll remember this match for a long time...hard luck Deb_Teb

    PAK:66 Wins

    IND:45 Wins

  • cricpolitics on September 26, 2009, 23:04 GMT

    "Deb_Teb" stop living in dreams and come to reality. India by no means is a champion team and Pak team has rightly shown them the right place where they stand.

    I think you should rather be saying this now "Australia will thrash India and the Team India will be forced to pack their bags, go home, and play some more IPL and champions League".

  • mnbaig on September 28, 2009, 16:19 GMT

    Match was good and the spirit in the match was good too. As for as the results are concerned, the team played good won the game. If I am not wrong Indian side is the best at the moment and in the ICC ranking they are the number 1. It is very shocking and surprising that the number 2 in ICC ranking is out of the contest, I don't think that they played bad. They did their best but unfortunately luck did not favor them and I have a strong believe that team India is going through the same situation too. Now because of rain India has to make 263 runs in 42 overs to win the game and it will be heart breaking if they loose against Australia, they will have to pack up and go back home disappointed. The reception they will get at home will be rough too. I request to the people, especially the fans of crikcket in India, please don't disrespect them. Welcome them with open heart and pay them respect as much as they can. Winning and loosing is a part of the game and it should not be a criteria.

  • afridi102 on September 28, 2009, 9:04 GMT

    That was a wonderfoul cricket match... I think that this match alone prove the importance of 50 over cricket... There were so many up and down for both teams in the match, that was too exiting. I was very happy that pakistan won, superb innings from yousuf and malik, superb spells by afridi and ajmal. I hope to see more matches between these two teams, you just can't get better...

  • mnbaig on September 27, 2009, 22:15 GMT

    It was a very interesting game and I enjoyed watching it. I don't want to go in to the discussion of who is better/strong or weak but would like to say that team who took the advantages of the weaknesses of the other team won the game. It does not proove that the losing team is weak or the winning is better. If we see the history of these two teams, the fact is that Pakistan has won more matches over India which means that the overall rating goes in favor of Pakistan and there is no doubt about it that the Pakistan side is a world class side. As other experts say this team is unpredictable and can produce miracles and we have seen these miracles in the past. In recent T20 this team rose up once again and won the trophy by beating heart favorites and Sri Lanka in the final. I don't want to be prejudiced in sports and would like to say that the team India is the most strong team in the world and iin the tournament. I suggest commentators to be unbaised against Pakistan when 2 teams play.

  • rookie4u on September 27, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    What a match it has been ... This is the beauty of ODI's. You can get a demo of every aspect of cricket in it. Like the way Malik, Yousuf, Gambhir batted or the way Nehra, Aamer, Ajmal, Afridi bowled or the way Younis brought a important run-out... I mean a proper cricket allround... Who says we need a change in this format... Games like these are always to be remembered.. Rivalry has been taken to its extreme. A typical Indo-Pak encounter and we all must agree that Pakistan at the end of the day proved to be more than handful though they were somehow evenly balanced with absence of all-timers like Zaheer, Shoaib, Asif, Yuvi, Viru ... Hope Pakistan plays with same intensity against a very new looking Aussies.. Good Luck to them.

  • jamrith on September 27, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    Pakistan was by far the better team man for man and this time they played well as a team ; India could have come closer but panicked and Harbhajan continued to prove his critics right, he is a spent force . Well done Pakistan, they can definitely go all the way and win the Champions Trophy crowning a great 2009 for them.

  • cricinformer on September 27, 2009, 2:07 GMT

    i simply can't stop laughing at 'sreedhar2love'... seems like everything went completely opposite to his plans... tendulkar was the worst performer in the match and guess what... it was the 17 year old aamer who struck him out... hahaha

  • henchart on September 27, 2009, 2:01 GMT

    Pakistan has won but no need to go overboard.For IND The battle might have been lost but the war still remains to be won.Ind might pull it across Aus and beat WI handsomely.Pakistan could lose to Aus and get eliminated through NRR. Unlikely but not impossible.Point is ,the group is wide open till Monday when Ind play Aus.The advantage Ind has is they play the last league game of their group against minnows and can monitor the NRR more than Pak or Aus, who could face each other in a QF situation .Ind must Drop RP and bring in Amit Misra .

  • mumbaiguy79 on September 27, 2009, 1:31 GMT

    Since my predictions are going so well, here's one more :-)

    Pakistan and India go through to the semis..Pak play South Africa (South Africa all out 220 runs and Pakistan win by 9 wickets)...India play Sri Lanka and lose (can't predict here what will happen here). So Pakistan square off with Sri Lanka and win by 10 wickets..

    Bottomline: Pakistan will win the Champions Trophy..;-)

  • ali.majaz on September 26, 2009, 23:53 GMT

    AMAZING.....PAKISTAN WINS

    What a match this was , one of the most memorable victory of PAKISTAN over INDIA...this is the beauty of IND vs PAKISTAN, I'll remember this match for a long time...hard luck Deb_Teb

    PAK:66 Wins

    IND:45 Wins

  • cricpolitics on September 26, 2009, 23:04 GMT

    "Deb_Teb" stop living in dreams and come to reality. India by no means is a champion team and Pak team has rightly shown them the right place where they stand.

    I think you should rather be saying this now "Australia will thrash India and the Team India will be forced to pack their bags, go home, and play some more IPL and champions League".

  • DipanshuKrishna on September 26, 2009, 11:53 GMT

    Hers's hoping for a close, well-fought contest b/w Ind-Pak. And most importantly a contest with mutual respect & in proper spirirt of the game.

    Nice to see that largely comments from fans on both sides are cordial and respectful of each other. If only, our respective governments can catch this spirit and clean up their self-created mess.

    Till then, back to the games and may the best side win.

  • Shahzad_Tirmizi on September 26, 2009, 11:37 GMT

    Well Pakistan vs India matches always attract fans & both teams should play cricket on the pattern of Ashes which means one of the teams visit other country once every four years & they should play full series of 5 test matches.

  • azarmuscat on September 26, 2009, 11:27 GMT

    Azar

    Being an indian I wish the match a huge success as i believe both team will give up a fight . Whoever wins today let them give the 50 Over match an elixir of life.I wish Sachin to perform.

  • Emad_sid on September 26, 2009, 11:18 GMT

    Paki Will beat india i guess..cuz they are much better then Indians

  • taravvih on September 26, 2009, 9:56 GMT

    this one's gonna b a cracker of a game no doubt ...pak's chances are seemingly raised wth d ouster of yuvi who fares well against them.The outcum will probably depend upon the playing conditions as well ...i think a gud batting surface wil hep pak as sum of their batsmen r in seriously bad form....Gambhir ,sachin n nehra wil paly a huge role in India wins.coping with the pressure of an indo-pak game after such a long tym will also matter. gudluck to both the teams ..whosoever wins....we just want an entertaining clash.

  • SheeeraZ on September 26, 2009, 9:56 GMT

    As a Pakistani....all i want from my team is to put up a fierce, brutal fight todays match...no matter who wins but the game must be spectacular .... when its about India & Pakistan..none of the teams are underdogs or minnows....history has always told us that no matter how weak or strong the opponent is the game always starts from an even point. I hope the aggression showed by Pakis will be full filled in the field.

  • Saim93 on September 26, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    Hopefully this match turns out to be perfect with mutual interest and respect towards others, i will be supporting pakistan seeing thats my nationality but i have the utmost respect for india and in case pakistan gets eliminated i will be backing India to win.

  • yyaarr on September 26, 2009, 8:58 GMT

    cricket is cricket and a cup of tea is cup of tea. in this article everything was looking nice but then again Mr Sambit shows his rivalry with Pakistan and wrote something which he knows no Pakistani gonna like it . i dont know how Editor allow his paragraph about Mumbai attacks.That attack was done by terrorists not by army and terrorists have no religion , country and friends. we respect Indians and their life is as important as ours.so please dont blame or use things like that in a place which is shared by all nations.everyone loves cricket and they want to know about cricket not abt the terrorism. i feel insulted by reading that.

  • PrayagMohan on September 26, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    Dear cricket Lovers,everyone says match ll be 50/50 but as a True Indian fans like our team wins not only a today's match,we ll win trophy also...as per cricket experts point of view ie Johnt rhodes are clearly shown india's batting strength wll win once again in important cup matches aginst Pakistan even yuvi,shewag and jaheer's absence.Afridhi's over reacted statement wll be answered within 2 hours by maestro Sachin's bat,but sure today s match ll be a sizzling one.enjoy cricket!All the best Indian Team!

  • Sulur on September 26, 2009, 7:34 GMT

    I am eagerly waiting for the start of the match in another 5 hours 45 minutes. Though Indian, I am neutral towards both India and Pakistan when it comes to cricket. I love to watch cricket as it is without any prejudice. Both sides have highly talented players and also passionate fans. My wishes for both the teams and advance thanks for the entertainment that you guys are going to provide us after sometime. BTW, being a small time astrology geek and a keen cricket follower, I know one fact: 1. Pakistan's lucky day is Friday - notice how many matches they have won against India on Friday's 2. India's lucky number is 8, which indicates Saturn. The name India also translates to number 8 in Numerology. Saturn's ruling day is Saturday. See how many times India has beaten Pakistan on Saturday. :) And guys, today is Saturday...

  • jeet19800 on September 26, 2009, 7:30 GMT

    The absence of Sehwag, Yuvi and also Zahir has taken the zing out of the contest of rivals from continent. I feel that this game is going to be the battle of youngesters from both the sides. Raina, Kohli & company has few points to prove and validate the belief team has put into them. I am looking foward to see, raina, Kohli vs Amer, Akmal. Lets have some Mutti-tappa ...let the dhol begins. nothing like a Indo-pak oneday game.

  • Saalih on September 26, 2009, 7:01 GMT

    I always read Mr. Sambit Bal article with intrest, but this one disapponit me as a cricket lover. As quoted below

    "And then, with the Mumbai terror attack, the landscape changed again. It was clear from the moment it was known that those who burned and killed in Mumbai had come from Pakistan"

    Mumbai attacks are still under trails in both countries and both Govts. are in process of resolving it. We should be ambassedor of peace and try to avoid blame each other.

    If we think we are against those kind of incident and love cricket to be the link we should avoid such comments.

  • yasirjalil on September 26, 2009, 6:58 GMT

    who ever wins today (pak vs ind), Mr sambit your first PAK vs IND odi encounter is going to be the most memorable match for sure. no matter what would be the result both sides should play positivly, and in the end Cricket will be the winner, best of luck for both sides

  • ameel_msn on September 26, 2009, 6:42 GMT

    So eventually the wait of vociferous partisan fans is finally over.It might have been another boring,run-off-the-mill treadmill kind of a day some two years back because the glut or overkill would have rendered it as such.True some delay arouses the longed curiosity but a protracted delay a la now can at times give you the willies.For long,I seem to be the proponent of idea of carving this signature series on the lines of Ashes which could make it a sought-after trademark but the powers that be seem to drool over to sweep the leftovers of bitter taste in the aftermath of an inevitable enigma.I think we have flunked to build it a signature due to our self-inflicted woes.Well for today's encounter I hope Pakistan creates history like any other glittering cover in our history book but I hope it triggers some more lively encounters in the future.Label or no label,this match is already billed as the best in this elite tournament and their matches dwarf Ashes when they attain the pinnacle.

  • Nasir_NZ on September 26, 2009, 5:40 GMT

    Let's hope for a fantastic contest. However, amidst the hosts of improbabilities, there is one certainty. The heat of passion would not allow anyone to retain a modicum of pragmatism, neutrality is a lost commoity. So do expect such humbug as seeing India winning after scoring 260 or Pakistan getting the better of them after getting them out within the three figures.....That just show the level of fanaticism this contest unleashes. So without revealing my fanaticism, I wait for the match.

  • sreedhar2love on September 26, 2009, 5:21 GMT

    C'mon itz all going to be a tendulkar's match, no one can stop him, younis will use all his bowlers Afridi amer, gul anyone there would be no use, he would be as devastating as he is boundaries seems like singles when he bats. he is going to blast pakistani bowling all across the stadium, i dont know if the indian bowling would rise to the occasion, but sure india would win this match by a good margin. Itz already written no one can change it..

    one more thing aamer dont challenge tendulkar, you are young don't spoil your career or else you are going to become one more shaun tait or aktar.

  • AdityaMookerjee on September 26, 2009, 4:35 GMT

    I believe, that the interest has come back to India/Pakistan cricket matches. I hope that relations can be normalised so that India and Pakistan play cricket, and other sport on a regular basis. India and Pakistan need to play out of their skins against each other, but in friendly conditions. I hope, that future India and Pakistan will be played in a similar atmosphere.

  • babar on September 26, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    WELL i guess a competitve game is on ,and sides equally balanced ,though pakistan have a bowling edge but in consistent batting from the top order is a area to work on ,i believe if 3 out 6 top order clicks for any side will eventually be victorious.Healthy game is on ,fingers crossed for Pakistan...

  • ElectronSmoke on September 26, 2009, 2:03 GMT

    Agreed .. India v Pakisatn cricket matches have seldom been just cricket on field. The needle has however always added to some incredible performances. Miandad's six, Zaheer Abbas's taming of spin quartet, Afridi's Kanpur blitz, Imran's lion hearted performances, Gavaskar's masterful 96, Tendulkar's 2003 odyssey, Sehwag's triple ton have been celebrated.

    The pleasing thing has been to see how lesser gifted players like Venkatesh Prasad, Aaqib Javed, Ajay Jadeja or Faisal Iqbal .. somehow gain that extra yard or pace, or extra bit of concentration to build an innings. There's something inherently satisfying when Salman Butt compiles a steady, unfussy century or Sadagoppan Ramesh debuts well against Wasim, Waqar and Saqlain in their pomp.

    Cricket, is richer for these chapters; the fans, partisan as they come .. but generous and lavish too when mood strikes, only add to it. I wish tonight the match between a mercurially talented Pak and steady but understrength India is no different.

  • srikanthyanamanagandla on September 26, 2009, 0:35 GMT

    @ fataquie, I know everyone live in their own fool's paradise, but sehwag isnt playing. Everybody says its pakistani bowlers vs Indian batters, but I believe tomorrow's match will be decided by Indian bowlers and Pakistani batsmen. Both are low on confidence and both took a pounding. It will be interesting to see Imran Nazir bat, as he loves batting against India. I believe Tendulkar will rise to the occasion and Dravid will support. The rest I dont think will do much, but thats me in my paradise. I think it will be very close contest and will go down the wire. Whoever wins, hope Cricket wins. Last but not least this game will revive oneday cricket for sure.

  • drearyDin on September 25, 2009, 23:58 GMT

    I don't care if Pakistan has to risk losing, they better play Mohammad Asif. PERIOD!

  • ehsanejaz1985 on September 25, 2009, 23:33 GMT

    Both teams will have a 50 -50 chance. Only that team will win that handles the pressure to great extent and show their utmost character in the match...... May the better team win.

  • naadim on September 25, 2009, 22:59 GMT

    A very good and balanced article Mr. Editor. I am excited about today's match. Being a Pakistani, I want my side to win and feel that they have the skills and talent to defeat this slightly depleted Indian side (not that I feel they can not compete an India comprising of Sehwags, Yuvis and Zaheers). Even if they lose, I will not mind much because I already know that they wouldn't do it without giving a good fight. Regarding the arch rivalry thing, it adds to the flavor of any contest but some, no, more than some, actually a hell lot of people on both sides of border don't posses enough sensibility to take sports (or any other aspect of life for that matter, say religion or politics) as they should be taken. Lack of education and awareness play a big part in it. I have a dream of watching an India Pakistan world cup final in National Stadium Karachi where there would be no steel nets so I could take autographs from players fielding on the boundry line. Maybe in 2031.

  • Homer2007 on September 25, 2009, 22:25 GMT

    Now that even the Editor of Cricinfo has done his bit hyping up a run of the mill league game, expect a damp squib tomorrow.

  • fataquie on September 25, 2009, 21:51 GMT

    Mr. Deb_Teb: Don't be so quick...perhaps...it may end up like this: Tendulkar and Sehwag both out in the first over by Aamer...the rest follow. India all out for under 100. Imran Nazir and Afridi open and play it like a T20 hammering Indian bowlers all around..wrap up the match in 8.5 overs...

    Like you, I live in a fool's paradise as well!

    May the best Pakistani team win tomorrow :)

  • mumbaiguy79 on September 25, 2009, 20:49 GMT

    Here's how it will turn out Sambit:

    India batting first scoring 260 odd (50s by Tendulkar and Yusuf Pathan/Dhoni) Pakistan lose by 20 runs or so (Harbhajan takes a 5for)

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • mumbaiguy79 on September 25, 2009, 20:49 GMT

    Here's how it will turn out Sambit:

    India batting first scoring 260 odd (50s by Tendulkar and Yusuf Pathan/Dhoni) Pakistan lose by 20 runs or so (Harbhajan takes a 5for)

  • fataquie on September 25, 2009, 21:51 GMT

    Mr. Deb_Teb: Don't be so quick...perhaps...it may end up like this: Tendulkar and Sehwag both out in the first over by Aamer...the rest follow. India all out for under 100. Imran Nazir and Afridi open and play it like a T20 hammering Indian bowlers all around..wrap up the match in 8.5 overs...

    Like you, I live in a fool's paradise as well!

    May the best Pakistani team win tomorrow :)

  • Homer2007 on September 25, 2009, 22:25 GMT

    Now that even the Editor of Cricinfo has done his bit hyping up a run of the mill league game, expect a damp squib tomorrow.

  • naadim on September 25, 2009, 22:59 GMT

    A very good and balanced article Mr. Editor. I am excited about today's match. Being a Pakistani, I want my side to win and feel that they have the skills and talent to defeat this slightly depleted Indian side (not that I feel they can not compete an India comprising of Sehwags, Yuvis and Zaheers). Even if they lose, I will not mind much because I already know that they wouldn't do it without giving a good fight. Regarding the arch rivalry thing, it adds to the flavor of any contest but some, no, more than some, actually a hell lot of people on both sides of border don't posses enough sensibility to take sports (or any other aspect of life for that matter, say religion or politics) as they should be taken. Lack of education and awareness play a big part in it. I have a dream of watching an India Pakistan world cup final in National Stadium Karachi where there would be no steel nets so I could take autographs from players fielding on the boundry line. Maybe in 2031.

  • ehsanejaz1985 on September 25, 2009, 23:33 GMT

    Both teams will have a 50 -50 chance. Only that team will win that handles the pressure to great extent and show their utmost character in the match...... May the better team win.

  • drearyDin on September 25, 2009, 23:58 GMT

    I don't care if Pakistan has to risk losing, they better play Mohammad Asif. PERIOD!

  • srikanthyanamanagandla on September 26, 2009, 0:35 GMT

    @ fataquie, I know everyone live in their own fool's paradise, but sehwag isnt playing. Everybody says its pakistani bowlers vs Indian batters, but I believe tomorrow's match will be decided by Indian bowlers and Pakistani batsmen. Both are low on confidence and both took a pounding. It will be interesting to see Imran Nazir bat, as he loves batting against India. I believe Tendulkar will rise to the occasion and Dravid will support. The rest I dont think will do much, but thats me in my paradise. I think it will be very close contest and will go down the wire. Whoever wins, hope Cricket wins. Last but not least this game will revive oneday cricket for sure.

  • ElectronSmoke on September 26, 2009, 2:03 GMT

    Agreed .. India v Pakisatn cricket matches have seldom been just cricket on field. The needle has however always added to some incredible performances. Miandad's six, Zaheer Abbas's taming of spin quartet, Afridi's Kanpur blitz, Imran's lion hearted performances, Gavaskar's masterful 96, Tendulkar's 2003 odyssey, Sehwag's triple ton have been celebrated.

    The pleasing thing has been to see how lesser gifted players like Venkatesh Prasad, Aaqib Javed, Ajay Jadeja or Faisal Iqbal .. somehow gain that extra yard or pace, or extra bit of concentration to build an innings. There's something inherently satisfying when Salman Butt compiles a steady, unfussy century or Sadagoppan Ramesh debuts well against Wasim, Waqar and Saqlain in their pomp.

    Cricket, is richer for these chapters; the fans, partisan as they come .. but generous and lavish too when mood strikes, only add to it. I wish tonight the match between a mercurially talented Pak and steady but understrength India is no different.

  • babar on September 26, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    WELL i guess a competitve game is on ,and sides equally balanced ,though pakistan have a bowling edge but in consistent batting from the top order is a area to work on ,i believe if 3 out 6 top order clicks for any side will eventually be victorious.Healthy game is on ,fingers crossed for Pakistan...

  • AdityaMookerjee on September 26, 2009, 4:35 GMT

    I believe, that the interest has come back to India/Pakistan cricket matches. I hope that relations can be normalised so that India and Pakistan play cricket, and other sport on a regular basis. India and Pakistan need to play out of their skins against each other, but in friendly conditions. I hope, that future India and Pakistan will be played in a similar atmosphere.