Most of the Indian victories in the world cup- starting with 1992 Sydney match have been one sided. Importantly, the world cup from which when this victory run started, was the one when Pakistan emerged to be the champions. Most of these victories have come amidst the back drop- if you win this match victory or the loss in the World Cup becomes inconsequential. But in every world cup after this, the gulf between the two teams has widened. By the time of the ongoing 2019 World Cup in England, team India has become the dominant team on the field with Pakistan being tamed like the minnows in contest in Manchester match. After India's victory against Pakistan in the world cup the changed narrative is- it's fine to defeat Pakistan again. But the team of Virat Kohli will be doing Justice to their immense talent if they are able to be the World champions for the third time. The win against Pakistan gives us pleasure, but the feel good factor comes only when India wins against the quality sides like Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand. The natural corollary to this brings a series of questions before us.
Is India-Pakistan contest on the cricket field just the hype and hoopla manufactured by the different stakeholders now? The hype created by the media to gather more eye balls? The hype created by the cricket bodies to attract more spectators? The hype created to bring in more advertisers? The hype justified more by the default button of the past and not backed by the changed ground realities?
What was the background from which the contest emanated?
The plot of the contest was to win against each other at any cost. The generations which had come out of the partition and the subsequent one were the instant characters in the plot. The shared common history brought about numerous tales of nostalgia, sorrow, romance, anecdotes, trivia- all interwoven in one. The two young countries on the globe with deep ancient civilizational roots wanted to firstly, find their feet and mark their footprints in the emerging global order. The two countries started with the spirit of competition for excellence. Cricket and hockey were the two sports which they imbibed as British legacy. Though it's debated by a section that these two sports had ancient roots in other forms, but the adapted modern version were popularized by the British. The hockey rivalry started loosing it's sheen as both India and Pakistan lost their position as world leaders in the sports. But, world cricket needed the India Pakistan rivalry on the field. The neutral venues like Sharjah and then Indian and Pakistan diaspora-centric venues like Britain and Canada also started emerging as popular hunting grounds for the much awaited rivalry.
The fact that the two teams had distinctive characters, helped the rivalry. Traditionally, India had strong batting order. Pakistanis were renowned for their bowling attack. Pakistan team started making the killer instinct as their distinctive mark. But the generation of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly followed by MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli- has completely turned the tables. As most of the former Pakistan cricketers like Wasim Akram and Rameez Raza admits, India is far more formidable side on the field. Their tradition of producing world class batsman continue. They have world's one of the most potent bowling attacks backed by finest fielding unit. Whereas, for the current Indian cricket generation which happens to be the by product of the world class Indian premier league, India Pakistan contest is just another day in the office. For Pakistan team, they come out as the do or die contest. More often than not, because of lack of the world class exposure Pakistan chickens out
The changed ecosystem gets reflected in the changed reality on the cricket field. India has evolved as the nation. It has got thriving democracy and fastest growing large sized economy of the world. Indian diaspora has excelled world wide. India by and large has moved on from the partition legacy. More than 70 percent of India of today was born after 1985, decades after partition. They want to script new India.
Pakistan on the contrary had got the impression of failed state. It has either had a direct and authorization military regime or the puppet government backed by it. The country has the notorious reputation of being the exporter of terrorism. The state of Pakistan is bleeding economically. The new Pakistan looks to be the distant dream.
Amidst, this backdrop, India Vs Pakistan contest has become the clash between the Titans and the Minnows if the unnecessary hype and the hoopla gets negated.