Cricket - India vs. Pakistan
A phenomenon of audiences, a diplomacy tool, a Media spectacle. The rivalry between India and Pakistan in cricket is one of the sports events most watched in the entire world.
On February 15th of 2015, over a million people watched the confrontation between India and Pakistan in Cricket World Cup.
The story didn't play in favor of Pakistan: the two nations had faced each other five times in the race and India amounted five wins.
The rivalry between the countries was fierce, lasting and broadened to outside the sports arena.
The conflict dated back to 1947. With the independence of British India, two nations were created: India, a Hindu majority, and Pakistan, a Muslim majority.
Despite the differences between the countries, both still have something in common: The United Kingdom, India and Pakistan have inherited the passion for cricket.
RIVALRY IS BORN
By the time of the independence, Fazal Mahmood was a Muslim player who didn't want to harm his career by the difficult relations between the nations.
In this turbulent year of 1947, he traveled to the Indian city of Poona, to join the cricket team which was preparing his tour in Australia.
Weather conditions and political chaos dictated his homecoming.
By the influence of religion and by the divisions between the nations, Mahmood was pressured by family to withdraw from the Indian team.
The Pakistan cricket had found, like that, one of its biggest starts.
In 1952, Mahmood played a key role in the first test that he played by the national team of Pakistan.
One of the opponents was the Indian training.
Despite the effort of the Pakistan team, the Indians, in the end, were always crowned winners.
It began a sports rivalry that remained to the present day.
The competition in the field acts as a small part, but deeply symbolic of a more complex rivalry, which neither the players nor the fans manage to escape.
DIPLOMACY ENTERS IN FIELD
Between 1961 and 1978, wasn't recorded any match between the two countries. The confrontation was on the battlefield, with the dispute of Kashmir territories.
Cricket occupied a key place in the post-war. From a rivalry symbol, the sport has become a political tool.
In 1987, the term "cricket diplomacy" has gained popularity.
The leader of Pakistan, Muhammad Zia ul-Haq visited India for watch a match with the Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi.
"Cricket for peace is my mission," said Zia ul-Hag, upon arrival at the airport. "My only goal is to come and see good cricket and, in meanwhile, to have a meet with the Prime Minister and see how we can solve our problems."
If, in politics, rivalries seemed away, in the field them were still there.
Mohammad Azharuddin was one of the figures of the meeting, which ended with the victory of India.
The young player was part of the Muslim minority that remains in the country after the British independence.
But the military leader of Pakistan, left his religion aside, commenting, diplomatically, his performance: "It's a good Indian player in India".
In 2005, cricket and diplomacy returned to play in the same league.
The President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan attended the match between the two nations with the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
Diplomatic strokes were not enough to ensure the victory of the peace.
In November of 2008, a terrorist attack has devastated for four days, the Indian city of Mumbai.
The attack was allegedly perpetrated by an Islamic organization, which operated from Pakistan.
The diplomatic response from the Indian government was to cancel the tour of the cricket team to the neighboring country.
THE RETURN TO COMPETITION
The two teams have face each other again in 2011, in the semifinals of the World Championship.
Yousuf Raza Gilani, Prime Minister of Pakistan, watched the match with his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh.
«Cricket has been a uniting factor, it has brought two Prime Ministers together and I dare say that’s a very good beginning», said Singh.
The match was effusive.
India won the victory, keeping their unbeaten record against Pakistan in World Championships.
Four years later, India and Pakistan returned to face again in this same teste.
The competition went from the field.... for advertising.
In the weeks before the World Cup of 2015, the Indian channel "Start Sports", has promoted an advertisement about the game.
Not giving up, the Samaa News, had answered with the same way.
The rivalry has also invaded the comic dimension of the internet with rivalry giving rise in memes and cartoons.
The match, counting for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, has conquered a historic audience with both countries to stop for watching the duel of titans.
India maintained its winning record by defeating Pakistan.
The rivalry, that remains, making the match between these two nations one of the most anticipated and followed clashes in the sports world.
India and Pakistan a relationship made of ups and downs.
A rivalry where sport goes hand in hand with diplomacy.