This could be the greatest match ever in the tournament. Not the author’s view. This could be the most thrilling encounter to have taken place of lately between two archrivals. The fans’ view, certainly. This could also be yet another dull contests having seen the two team’s recent T20I history (in World Cup games), where in all likelihood, the enthusiasm with which you root for your favourite team can find inspiration from the fervent enthusiasm with which you deny your wife’s request to check your Whatsapp messages.
India vs Pakistan, Pakistan vs India, whatever is your favourite SEO keyword, this age old rivalry has successfully convinced the viewer into believing that when the two ‘archrivals’ walk out on the cricket field, it’s actually cricketers in the guise of warlords who come to battle.
At this very moment, it could be that your favourite TV channel is showing you visuals of fire, with bold images of Team India gasping the life out of Pakistan with the added effects of the anchor- provided the noted toothpaste brand doesn’t get offended in being compared to the media- inciting you to be the patriot.
It could also be that some member in the family ‘may’ have stepped into the temple to pray for India’s win, when that golden opportunity could have been utilized at checking whether any miscreant has not eaten the sacred spiritual offerings, which may not be Doctor Hathi.
The author of this piece certainly believes in the triumph of the underdog. But the fun part is who that turns out to be, rests in the lap of the future, not necessarily in Mr. Virat Kohli or Mr. Babar Azam’s hands.
What does rest with them, however, besides their overgrown facial hair, is the quantum of runs their respective bats can produce, the nature of the toss and the extent to which both amazing batsmen are determined.
If you purely go by records then, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, on its way to approaching 4,000 episodes is about as popular- let’s face facts- as is an India versus Pakistan match in the T20 world cup.
But since it’s a mega Sunday and that too, amid the festive season, and on top, the occasion of India taking on Pakistan, we shall dispense with non-cricketing conversation.
Although, what deserves to be noted with the same fever pitch that to this day, Pakistan have never beaten India in any T20 world cup match, is the fact that whoever wins today’s match will not help decrease the price of fish.
Nor will that mega force help in increasing the demand to see Yuzvendra Chahal take on a Sumo Wrestler sometime soon, in a bid to revive a noted albeit suddenly-at-standstill career.
Anyhow, let’s focus where we must for that’s most important. So, yeah, like you were reading, Paris is more popular a destination than Berlin and the surplus media coverage given to German lager especially during the Oktoberfest has nothing to do with this ounce of truth.
The same way nothing will change the fact that Team India enter the game as favorites over Pakistan, and that’s not down to the fact that nobody in the Pakistani line-up has a better voice than Hardik Pandya of Baroda, not Barbados.
Moreover, what’s also true is that the team India will face today, i.e., October 24 2021 is no longer a weak, bully-able side that comprises of laggard, insipid talents who won’t try to put together a fight.
If that pinched somewhere then surely, the credit goes to Shakira for reminding us that hips don’t lie.
This team, it ought to be remembered, comprises of some exciting names that could create a huge difference. Think Fakhar Zaman. Think Shaheen Shah Afridi. Don’t forget Mohd. Rizwan. And certainly don’t ignore the evergreen Mr. Sania Mirza, oops Shoaib.
Not every Pakistani hero is called an Akhtar just like on the other side of the border there are legends like Javed Akhtar, who time and again, have reminded us to be together, act brotherly by singing, “Sarhad Insaano Ke Liye Hai; Socho Tumne Aur Maine Kya Paaya Insaan Hoke!”
But before this emotional train of thought is discarded much like a refugee is upon being denied a permanent asylum, let’s face a truth.
India will always excite. So will Pakistan. Both must be credited for it.
On the one hand where there’s Kohli, Sharma, Bumrah, Pant and the entire team’s Virat-size talent, on the other, there is this spirited desire to bounce back much like Babar did in the historic fight against Ibrahim Lodi, the-then Sultan of Delhi.
And it’s this passionate search for cricketing excellence that we all must regard, over and above the blaring noise of media-driven, propaganda-fuelling cries that ask us to become instant enemies with lives on the other side of the border when each time we are shown Pakistan’s face or that of its flag.
Who are we at the end of the day? Just who are we?
Remember, to remember that there’s more to remember in Cricket than remembering the name since Carlos Brathwaite has already made his.
And it’s that we are fans first and always, before and after, back then and for times immemorial and that is what we should be.
We are the same mortals who were swept off our feats by Sachin’s straight drive, Wasim Akram’s breathtaking in-swingers, Waqar’s scary toebreakers and Dravid’s unbreachable forward defense.
And remember nothing has changed in that we are the same fans who may resort to memes to insinuate each other but at the end of the day, reserve much love to appreciate both Kohli and Babar’s cover drives.
It’s just a game. Live it. Love it. Become it. But don’t you forget, it’s just a game. Live it. Love it. Enjoy it now, here, wherever. Much love India. All the best Pakistan.