Every little thing has what is called a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and when it comes to Indo Pak cricket matches, it is basically now a means to bring two arch rivals face to face to get maximum TRP’s and ensure cricket enthusiasts a good day.
The Indo Pak showdown has over the years grown beyond the limitation of boundaries and borders and the entire outlook of people of the matches has changed. The enthusiasm at both sides towards these matches is at a different high while players of these teams are playing against each other.
The thrill of an Indo Pak encounter is far better than watching a typical Bollywood movie. Scenic descriptions are as colourful as it can get – our Indian and Pakistani brothers and sisters painting their faces or arms with their respective flags, the Indian vuvuzela(conch shells) taking centre stage along with drums, cheering and offcourse not to forget flags being waved high.
Placards, slogans written on boards and people clapping and cheering is the true mood of one of those matches.
Today we have reached a stage when one of those matches leads to desserted roads , next to nil traffic movement, office bearers and senior officials catching up with every minute of the frenzy behind what I proudly call a spectacle.
Almost all families , shops , food outlets and other commercial spots like hotels and restaurants turn into fun zones which are thronged by people throughout the day to watch their favourites play through the day.
Turning glum at the fall of every wicket and cheers at each shot boomeranging the ball out of the field is the feel at both the stadium and those watching the teams play via TV.
Halts in the touring of either teams in their opponents countries has been observed considering tensions in relations, however this has not deterred each one of them to come together for a match. Each team has had its fair share of victory and defeat over the years.
The face off between the two countries started in 1952 when a four day test was held. 1980s & 90s, the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams played each other in non-Test-playing nations venues such as Canada (Toronto ) and the United Arab Emirates (Sharjah).
The series between the teams in Canada in the 1990s and early 2000s were officially known as the “Friendship Cup.”
Not only the main national team but the other areas where India lead are the Champions Trophy, World Cup , T20 World Cup, U19 World Cup and Asia Cup.
Bangalore, Faisalabad , Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai , Rawalpindi and several such places like FerozeShah kotla stadium have seen these teams come together.
Data available on the net suggests on the day of such a match the viewership goes upto one hundred million TV viewers.
Indo Pak rivalry will renew itself in the first game of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, something seen bigger than a Ashes encounter.
Even this year, there has been unrest among fans for the bad relations between ICC and Board of Control for Cricket in India regarding the new ICC constitution.
It’s been over a year since the last Indo-Pak encounter, two since the last encounter in a 50-over game.
It is the third time Pakistan face India at Edgbaston after the 2004 and 2013 encounters.
Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, and Wahab Riaz in the pace department all have had their moments. Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan, the new additions to the side are a breath of fresh air.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami will try to make sure that Pakistan doesn’t get enough breathing space with the new ball. India’s highly experienced spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, will make sure Pakistan doesn’t get settled too easily.
Apart from the heightened nationalism, this match comes with less baggage. Pakistan have fallen behind, the last five “big” matches between these sides – 2012 World T20, 2013 Champions Trophy, 2014 World T20, 2015 World Cup 2015 and 2016 World T20.
But experts widely tell the media that once the Indo Pak team enter Edgbaston, they will transform this match from just another match into a thriller.
Spotlight in this game will be on Virat Kohli who in 10 ODIs has two centuries against Pakistan.
In 14 ODIs in England, he has one century and an average of 38.54.
The pitches at Edgbaston are true, but the overhead conditions matter more. The initial forecast was for showers in the morning and afternoon, but that seems to have improved.
India last lost to Pakistan in an ICC event in the 2009 Champions Trophy.
Both these sides hold a negative record against top-eight sides since the last World Cup: India have won nine and lost 12, Pakistan have won six and lost 18.