By Krishna Masilamani
It's one of the world's fiercest sporting rivalries and previous showdowns have taken place while the countries have been at war, or used as an icebreaker between frosty leaders. But when India and Pakistan face off in cricket's World Twenty20, love will be in the air amid a determination to ensure Saturday's game soothes rather than stokes tensions.
Tensions have prevented the two sides from playing each other in Tests for more than a decade, and the match is only happening because the World T20 is an International Cricket Council tournament.
However, there never has and rarely will be shortage of patriotic fervour in matches between India and Pakistan. It's not only the fans, but players themselves who are enthused for the encounter and often this enthusiasm has bordered on overboard.
Here are five of the most heated moments in the history of India vs Pakistan clashes.
Miandad's Jumping Jack
1992 was the first time that archrivals India and Pakistan played each other in a World Cup. And when India play Pakistan, it’s very rare for the match to go smooth. Sachin Tendulkar was about to bowl to Javed Miandad when he suddenly stopped him and started talking to Kiran More. Miandad wasn’t happy with what was being saying behind the wicket and the constant appeals made by Indian wicketkeeper. He pushed the next ball to mid-off and tried to sneak a single which he couldn’t so he went back to the crease. And then, the most unexpected event happened.
Miandad started jumping as if given a punishment. He jumped up and down three times and then adjusted the stumps. Maybe Miandad wouldn’t have imagined his few minutes’ craziness would be part of an article written in 2016. But Miandad’s jump is an indelible moment in the history of India vs Pakistan matches.
Gesture contest between Aamir Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad
India met Pakistan again in the 1996 World Cup, in the quarterfinals at Bangalore. Most cricket fans would remember the match, and the moment; yes it is the Aamir Sohail vs Venkatesh Prasad incident, probably one of the proudest moment for Indian fans. Pakistan were chasing 288 and were cruising with 113/1 when this happened. Aamir came down the track and smashed the ball over the cover for four, then gestured to the bowler where the ball went, saying that the next ball it will go there as well. But that’s not what happened. Prasad bowled a typical fast leg cutter, pitched little outside off, curved in and took the off stump as Aamir was trying to pull that ball. Then Prasad gave him a memorable send off showing him where the pavilion is.
Shoaib gets Sachin on a duck
Saturday’s match between India and Pakistan will take place at Eden Gardens, but the stadium has already witnessed some stirring moments between the two teams, notably at the Asian Test Championship in 1999. Shoaib Akhtar was considered the fastest bowler in the world at that time and he bowled Rahuld Dravid with a fast reverse swinging yorker, a dream ball for most of the bowler. The wicket prompted a huge noise from the crowd, as it often happens whenever India lost their second wicket. because that meant that Sachin Tendulkar walked out to bat. Sachin took guard and was ready to face the first ball, Shoaib ran in to bowl with renewed energy. It was the fast yorker again which toppled the stumps and the Kolkata crowd hopes as Sachin was dismissed for first ball duck for the first time in Test history. Nothing in this world can turn the noisy stadium silent as much as Sachin getting out. Later the match was interrupted due to the crowd and Sachin had to walk out and appease them which helped the game to move on.
Gambhir and Afridi cross paths
It was the third ODI in the series between India and Pakistan back in 2007. Gautam Gambhir, known for his aggressive behavior on the field, was batting well. He pushed the ball for single and while running over, dashed into Shahid Afridi. Both players exchanged words which turned heated and the situation escalated. Later the umpires had to intervene to calm down them and India went on to win the match comfortably. Incidentally, one year later a similar incident happened between Gambhir and Shane Watson.
Harbhajan and Shoaib in a sledging match
India were chasing in a thriller of a contest in the Asia Cup. Shoaib Akhtar was bowling the penultimate over of the match and the last two balls to Harbhajan Singh were fast bouncers which he tried to smash but was beaten by pace. The bowler came near and asked him what he was trying to do. Not to be outdone, Bhajji replied that he was trying to smash him out of the ground and the sledging continued between the overs as well.
India needed six runs in five balls and Bhajji tried to smash Mohammad Amir and missed, tried to sneak a single but Raina was run out. With six needed in four balls, Praveen Kumar pushed to third man and Akthar, standing there misfielded which cost Pakistan two runs. Praveen then pushed to point for a single bringing Bhajji on strike. Guess what? He smashed Amir for a six and was overjoyed. He began shouting at Shoaib who pointed out finger at him and asked him to go. India went on to win the Asia Cup by beating Sri Lank in the Finals.
With inputs from agencies