There is no need to highlight how intense and passionate the rivalry is between India and Pakistan in cricket. Not just the fans, but the players too look forward to this match-up, and sometimes these individual battles become part of this rich India vs Pakistan history. Here's a look at a few memorable player rivalries between the two teams over the years.
Wasim Akram vs Sachin Tendulkar
This is a rivalry that was more statistical than personal. Both the players clashed with each other during their prime and even though a few fans might argue that Shoaib Akhtar was a bigger competition to the Master Blaster, Akram’s swingers actually slowed him down!
His average of 36.61 in ODIs and 32.91 in 7 test innings against Pakistan while Akram was playing do not reflect his legendary talent. Even though Sachin’s performance against Pakistan has always been consistent, Akram’s presence acted as an Achilles’ heel in his career.
Kapil Dev vs Javed Miandad
This rivalry started as early as Kapil Dev’s test debut, where Miandad was not out at 154. The latter was known to be cheeky but Kapil Dev had the last laugh overall, with a total wicket haul of 42 wickets and 99 wickets in ODIs and Tests respectively. Not just that, Dev scored 1436 runs against Pakistan and also successfully lifted the World Cup during his career.
Anil Kumble vs Inzamam ul-Haq
Inzamam’s constant presence was a relief for many Pakistani fans but even he would have trouble dealing with Kumble’s leg breaks.
Kumble had an uncanny knack of using the new ball to his favour and most of his scalps, including the times he got Inzamam out would be with the new ball. Both were legends in their own rights and it would be an exciting contest every time they would battle it out on the field.
Imran Khan vs Sunil Gavaskar
This rivalry was the highlight of the India Pakistan matches during the 1970s and 1980s with Imran Khan even saying that Gavaskar was the most compact batsman he has ever bowled to. Sunil Gavaskar held his poise and grace every time the two would meet, and even ended up winning the first test in 27 years against Pakistan.
Even though Imran was not much successful against Gavaskar, he was still a threat for the rest of the Indian team, with an overall claim of 131 wickets.
Virender Sehwag vs Shoaib Akhtar
The Prince of Najafgarh vs the Rawalpindi Express. Fans from this generation will fondly remember every time the two would meet on the pitch. Their aggression was legendary, with Akhtar’s fiery pace battling Sehwag’s swashbuckling strikes.
The first memory that strikes any cricket fan hearing their names would be Sehwag’s uppercut that went for a six in the 2003 World Cup. His first 300+ score also came against a Pakistan bowling attack spearheaded by Akhtar. Even though Sehwag dominated the Tests format with 732 runs, Akhtar ruled the ODI side of the clash with 32 wickets in 19 matches.
These on-field battles have entertained us since the inception of this rivalry, but will history repeat itself? Catch India and Pakistan fight it out in the ICC Champions Trophy this Sunday to know for sure!