Pakistan vs India: Cricket’s greatest rivalry will resume this year

Published: July 17, 2012
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DRAWN-OUT: 5 years has been the wait Pakistan and India played
their last bilateral series. DESIGN: FAIZAN DAWOOD

DRAWN-OUT: 5 years has been the wait Pakistan and India played their last bilateral series. DESIGN: FAIZAN DAWOOD

KARACHI: 

One of sports’ greatest and impassioned rivalries has been resurrected after being comatose for half a decade.

Archrivals Pakistan and India are all set for new beginnings after bilateral cricketing ties between the uneasy neighbours saw a sudden breakthrough after five years.

Though prospects of a revival seemed bright for the first time in years, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s announcement on Monday that it would extend an invitation to host a short series at the end of this year against Pakistan caught many off guard. The decision was taken at the Indian cricket board’s working committee meeting in New Delhi on Monday.

“It was decided to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan by inviting the Pakistan cricket team,” read a BCCI media release following the hearing. “It will be held in December 2012 – January 2013. The modalities will be worked out shortly,” the statement added.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has welcomed the development with Chairman Zaka Ashraf describing it as a “fruitful result” of months of endeavouring. “The decision is great and we welcome it. It seems that millions of cricket fans have their wishes fulfilled,” he told reporters in Lahore.

The rivals have not played a series since Pakistan’s tour of India in 2007. Cricket ties were snapped following the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai.

The plan

According to BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla, the plan includes three one-day internationals (ODIs) and two Twenty20s (T20s).

While the schedule will be announced later, the series is expected to be played between December 23 and January 5. Shukla also hinted at the possible venues for the series. “New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata will likely host the ODIs,” he revealed. “Ahmadabad and Bangalore may host the two T20s.”

The PCB had been making one-sided efforts to revive bilateral cricketing ties between the two nations for the past few months which saw talks between dignitaries from both sides besides a series of discussions between the boards’ chiefs.

While the Indian board has cited its government’s reluctance on various occasions, a BCCI official confirmed that they have received a green signal this time — insisting that an official invitation has already been sent to the PCB.

‘Ice-breaking series’

Although it was PCB’s turn to host series as per the international schedule, the board’s chief refused to go into the debate. “It will be an ice-breaking series,” said Ashraf.  “It will fill the gap and we can decide on other matters after that. Right now, we are happy on the development.

“It happened because of the efforts from both the boards. I was in constant touch with BCCI President N Srinivasan and we held many meetings. My trip to watch the Indian Premier League (IPL) final was a breakthrough as I held crucial discussions with various BCCI officials,” he revealed.

“The development is also a reflection of improving ties between the two countries at the international level.”

Reactions

Players, officials and fans spoke of their delight at the resumption of a rivalry that has produced some of cricket’s most memorable moments.

Test captain Misbahul Haq said it was “great news” for millions of fans across South Asia. Former captain Javed Miandad was also ecstatic at the news. “It is definitely great news,” Miandad told AFP. “One must give credit to Ashraf for his wholehearted efforts to revive Indo-Pak cricket, and it paid off.”

While cricketing fans expressed jubilation, opposition from the usual quarters followed suit. An Indian extreme right-wing party, Shiv Sena, said it would not let Pakistan play in India — saying Pakistan was responsible for the 2008 Mumbai carnage and it would not be allowed to play in the country.

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Raj
    Jul 17, 2012 - 4:59AM

    I will look forward to this mega event. Cheers, let us give peace a chance.

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  • Pungi
    Jul 17, 2012 - 5:48AM

    Oh! so eager to watch Tendulkar trembling again…!

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  • Kuldeep
    Jul 17, 2012 - 6:21AM

    The backlash in India is getting more vocal by the hour. I will be very surprised if this tour goes ahead. As usual, the Indian government and the BCCI will end up backtracking on their decision.

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  • Vikram
    Jul 17, 2012 - 6:31AM

    Let fight only on the cricket field and be friends elsewhere.

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  • Raw is War
    Jul 17, 2012 - 7:29AM

    Rivalry? Hardly. Its more like charity.

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  • Plal
    Jul 17, 2012 - 7:37AM

    Shahid Afridi can be party spoiler and a security risk if he tours with the team.He bad mouth about Indians after defeated by Indians in semi final of world cup in Mohali.In his opinion Indians can never be good human being like a Muslim, ignoring the fact that Indian team also has Muslim players. He also spoke against Gautam Gambhir, when Gambhir dedicated the India’s World Cup win to the victims of Mumbai terror attacks as final was played in Mumbai and although Gambhir did not cast aspersion on Pakistan , but Afridi twisted this statement to criticize what Gambhir knows about who were behind the Mumbai attack.

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  • anand singh
    Jul 17, 2012 - 7:37AM

    Why ?

    Either we were wrong to have stopped playing in the 1st place or are wrong to start without any of the reasons for having stopped being addressed .

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  • Jul 17, 2012 - 8:08AM

    As long as Indian Cricketers are not put in danger by playing in Pakistan and the matches happen in India(generating crores of Rupees in revenue and creating hundreds of jobs) its fine.

    But, I was under the impression that BCCI had invited PCB for a match long back and PCB was being stubborn that India should visit Pakistan. I guess they have recognized reality now.

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  • Raja
    Jul 17, 2012 - 8:12AM

    Not interested in watching pathetic team like India playing Pakistan.Recommend

  • Indian
    Jul 17, 2012 - 8:32AM

    Pakistan is NOT Cooperating for 26/11 Terrorists..Hafeez Syed Roaming freely and abusing India….Shame on BCCI they don’t understand the Indians Sentiments…They are inviting Jehadis on Our Land…Shame….No Relationship with Paks till Pakistan don’t do any solid action against 26/11 Conspirator..Recommend

  • mr. righty rightist
    Jul 17, 2012 - 8:34AM

    This is most unfortunate.

    By accepting this series, India has committed an atrocity against the Mumbai victims.

    Pakistan nurtures the likes of Hafiz Saeed, while we give their bankrupt/isolated cricket a new lease of life. This is most unfortunate.

    I request the sane minds of Indian cricket like Gavaskar and others to put pressure on the government and not approve this series. There should be no cricket with Pakistan until it seriously tackles the problem of terrorism.

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  • FS
    Jul 17, 2012 - 8:51AM

    Test captain Misbahul Haq said it was
    “great news” for millions of fans
    across South Asia

    ET had to add its own little twist to story

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  • Pankaj
    Jul 17, 2012 - 8:51AM

    Shameful decision by BCCI….

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  • Firefly
    Jul 17, 2012 - 9:32AM

    Side Line the HEARDLINERS

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  • Firefly
    Jul 17, 2012 - 10:17AM

    Great News for Cricket Lovers!

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 17, 2012 - 10:53AM

    Much the best and excellent announcement/achievement for the watchers,viewers,lovers and supporters of Pakistan-India cricket in the region but always politics must never be involved in the games and the games must be politics-free so that the real entertainment and charm could be obtained from the games most especially importantly matches between Pakistan-India because after England-Australia ashes series Pakistan-India cricket matches are seen sentimentally and anxiously in the whole world especially in Asia……..

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  • akash
    Jul 17, 2012 - 11:00AM

    wonder what was the hurry by BCCI ? were they running short of cash ? Not a fan of Shiv Sena but atleast on this occasion I get their point. It is shameful to say the least.
    I guess Govt, BCCI are in charity mood really.

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  • Enlightened
    Jul 17, 2012 - 11:14AM

    Has PCB taken NOC from DPC to tour India ???

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  • C. Nandkishore
    Jul 17, 2012 - 1:07PM

    We will see that this tour doesn’t take place.

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  • A.Sathyamurthy
    Jul 17, 2012 - 1:17PM

    All that BCCI wants is to make money! Where is the need to have a cricket series against Pakistan, the relationship being what it is right now? Gavaskar has a point when he refers to the pending/stalled 26/11 trial being ignored while BCCI gives the nod for resuming cricket ties. I think it would be wiser to postpone indefinitely any thought of cricket series between the two countries.

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  • Optimist
    Jul 17, 2012 - 1:28PM

    crickets greatest rivalry? shouldn’t that be the ashes? if you think no then i don’t think i should even bother reading this.

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  • malik
    Jul 17, 2012 - 1:44PM

    I noticed one thing…most of the Pakistanis want the cricket series with India…

    but most of the Indians do not want this series to go ahead…. they don’t want to play against Pakistan…..

    if you are observant, you can draw your insights from this !!

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  • not-an-indian
    Jul 17, 2012 - 4:40PM

    I wish PK would stop playing and being enamored by such a useless game as cricket. How about football ? By the way Indians, I wish there was no interaction between us and you would stay away from these pages. After all, we don’t go around putting spiteful comments on you news websites because, frankly, we are really interested in your world.

    Recommend

  • Somesh
    Jul 17, 2012 - 7:23PM

    @Pungi:
    Oh! so eager to watch Tendulkar trembling again…!
    Well when Tendulkar trembles, the following happen:
    1. One of the better Pakistani bowler gets hit for 5 6’s in an over and his career gets finished.
    2. Pakistan looses 2 world cup encounters.
    3. Wasim Akram starts abusing his own bowlers
    4. Pakistanis start getting jealous and
    5. Afridi starts crying on his national TV…
    Now are you still sure you want to see him tremble?

    Recommend

  • GreenOval
    Jul 18, 2012 - 1:35AM

    @Somesh:
    Looks like you have selected memory syndrome. Why not include the data about the trashing you received from the Pakistani team. Remember Sharjah, what happened to Cheetan Sharma after that. Remember the dismentalling of your world famous spinners in the 80s. We can go on but the fact is both teams had their days against each other, so no point highlighting the ones that suites your bloated ego.

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  • GreenOval
    Jul 18, 2012 - 2:02AM

    @Somesh:
    No disrespect to Tendulkar, but do you remember the times when his Furntures (stumps, in case you’re slow) were shattered by Shoaib, Akram and co. Let me know in case you do not remember, I can send you the links for your viewing pleasure and refresher.

    Recommend

  • GreenOval
    Jul 18, 2012 - 2:23AM

    @not-an-indian:
    These are the few sorry Indian trolls who are making their living by making these senseless, hateful and provoking comments. If you haven’t figured it out, this is their full time job. Look at their names, they are regulars. You will find them here and at other Pakistani web sites spreading hatred. They comment on almost every page. Irrespective of what being discussed, Sports, Arts, Entertainment or any sort of news, they tend to politicize it, It’s in their job description.

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