It ain’t over till the...

To date, India have faced Pakistan six times in the World Cup and all six times India have won

  • Published 12.05.19, 10:15 AM
  • Updated 12.05.19, 10:15 AM
  • 2 mins read
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The captains of the nine participating teams of the Benson & Hedges World Cup 1992 held in Australia Picture by Nikhil Bhattacharya

No sooner are the Lok Sabha election results out than the ICC Cricket World Cup will begin on May 30. The hype, however, is around the India vs Pakistan match on June 16 for obvious reasons. Post Pulwama, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammed Azharuddin and Virender Sehwag made some noise about seeking a boycott on the face-off. But then, of late, former Indian cricketers have been in the news for mostly non-sporting reasons. “India should not only stop playing cricket, hockey or football with Pakistan but should cut all ties with them,” Maharaja commandeered. “The World Cup cannot be bigger than the country,” chimed Azhar. Bhajji said, “India are powerful enough to win the World Cup without having to play Pakistan.” Sehwag said, “When India and Pakistan play a match, it is nothing less than a war. We should win the war.”

Mamla Gambhir tha

Veteran cricketer from Pakistan, Javed Miandad called out Ganguly on his possible political ambitions, but it was former India skipper Gautam Gambhir who joined the BJP. Four days before that he had spoken about the need to forfeit the match. The match, however, is very much on with the ICC rejecting the BCCI's demand. Indian captain Virat Kohli said with uncharacteristic docility, “We will go by what the government and the Board decides, we will respect that.” And then it was reported that the ICC could lose 500 million US dollars if India pulled out. It was Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed's response that was more in spirit of the game. He said: “The match against India is very important in many ways but it is one match and we need to play all our remaining matches in the tournament like we are playing against India.”

Operation Vijay

To date, India have faced Pakistan six times in the World Cup — 1992, Sydney; 1996, Bangalore; 1999, Manchester; 2003, Centurion; 2011, Mohali; 2015, Adelaide. All six times India have won. The 1999 match at Old Trafford in Manchester — where the June 16 match will also play out — coincided with the Kargil war, but it happened nevertheless. But that was then. This time, tickets for the much hyped match sold out within 48 hours of online sales opening. Apparently, most of the buyers were Indians. Bharat Army, a giant Indian cricket support group, is to organise a concert in Manchester on match eve. Punjabi singer Guru Randhawa will be performing. One of his better known songs is called Lahore. It goes: “O lagdi Lahore di aa/Jis hisaab naa' hansdi aa.

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