Love, not war as Indo-Pak resume rivalry

March 19, 2016

By the time Pakistan cricket team came for training on Friday, India were already packing their bags. Indian batsman Virat Kohli noticed them entering the field and came close to Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi to exchange some greetings. Mohammad Amir soon joined them and received a gift from Kohli much to his surprise. During the Asia Cup Kohli promised Amir to give him a bat and the star Indian batsman used the opportunity to keep his words.
Anyone watched that event at the Eden Garden must have thought that India and Pakistan were preparing for a friendly match on Saturday at this historic ground in downtown Kolkata.
But the reality was far different as the arch-rivals had been gearing up for an epic contest with plenty at stakes for both the teams at the ICC World Twenty20.
The International Cricket Council was making its best effort to bring some peace between two teams, inviting legends from both sides to join a function before the match.
The effort was taken apparently to pacify the political tension between the two countries that had earlier threatened to ruin the contest. The ICC had to shift the game from Dharamsala to Kolkata after Pakistan refused to play there for safety concern.
The off the field tension eased with the change of venue as Cricket Association of Bengal agreed to provide Pakistan the kind of security they wanted. But it did little to reduce the on-field tension when both teams are up against some kind of history.
Pakistan could never defeat India at a world level ICC meet while India could never beat Pakistan in a limited over game at Eden Garden. While Pakistan will be eager to break the jinx, India have every reason to give an all-out attempt to make life difficult for them.
Already beaten in the first match by New Zealand at Nagpur, India are well aware that a second defeat in the group stage will effectively mean the end of contest for them.
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis believes this gives an opportunity to change their history and put India under more pressure, but speaking before him in the same podium Ravi Chandran Ashwin insisted they are up for the challenge.
Ashwin dubbed the contest bigger than Ashes and more of a border rivalry signaling that whatever the peace the other players offer they are even ready for a war if it is needed to end that way.

-With New Age input

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