24 November, 2020

Pitched Battles

This is as big as it gets. An India-Pakistan clash is more than sport—the very self - image of the two countries hinges on it.

Pitched Battles
Even as tigers disappear from their supposed sanctuaries, the two-legged variety appears to have lost none of its roar. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has snarled that all those who want to play against Pakistan are "shameless". Shiv Sainiks have already made two attempts to vandalise the pitch at Mohali and Kanpur. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has chipped in with his two bits' worth: calling for a cancellation of the tour when the Pakistan cricket board was prevaricating over Ahmedabad. And the All India Anti-Terrorist Front has demanded a ban on Javed Miandad's entry into India on the allegation that his son is engaged to Dawood Ibrahim's daughter.

India-Pakistan is the pinnacle for cricket rivalry, beating the Ashes by miles. But there's one critical difference. Enthusiasm is generated around the Ashes through verbal beamers by key players. With five months to go before the first Ashes coin is tossed this year, Glenn McGrath has already marked Andrew Strauss as his prime target. In the subcontinent, while the support cast erupts, the protagonists try to keep the war...


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