23 April, 2021

Those Little Gladiators

From genteel sport to jingoist war-game--Indo-Pak cricket alters the rules

Those Little Gladiators

Optimistic theorists count upon sport as a bond between nations. In the present state of nationalistic feeling, it is only another cause of international misunderstanding. The battles waged on the football field and the race track are merely preliminaries to, and even contributory causes of, more serious contests.
-Aldous Huxley

HUXLEY wrote these words in 1939, on the eve of World War II, but they apply with equal force to a cricket match played a little over a year ago. India versus Pakistan, Bangalore, March '96, the Wills World Cup quarterfinal. The home side, batting first, scored 287 for 6, every run accompanied by 50,000 loud-throated cheers and plenty else besides. In Pakistan's reply, however, the marvellous strokeplay of Sohail and Anwar was met with a silence that was total and deafening. After wickets fell in a heap the crowd bestirred itself, to be silenced once more by a battling Javed Miandad. When he too was out, and the match lost and won, I stood up to applaud the veteran, leaving the cricket field for the last time. "What are you...

In this article:

More from Ramachandra Guha

Latest Magazine

April 26, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section