India-Pakistan, the biggest rivalry in the sporting world
The teams of the two countries will oppose Sunday in Manchester, England, within the framework of the cricket world cup. But it is the entire sub-continent that will be paralyzed by this historic match between nations often in conflict, who use cricket both as a tool of show of strength and reconciliation.
The eyes of cricket fans around the world are on Manchester. It is in this city in the northeast of England that India and Pakistan face each other on Sunday in the framework of the World Cup which takes place in the United Kingdom until July 14. A historic game. A new sporting battle that is part of a long history of rivalry that dates back to 1947, the year of the partition of the Indian subcontinent.
Since then, cricket matches between the two countries have experienced the vagaries of successive conflicts, so much so that no cricket match was played between India and Pakistan between 1961 and 1978. More recently, no Test Match, the flagship game format that can last up to five days, has not been played in the past eleven years. Suddenly, the price of tickets for Sunday’s match skyrocketed, the cheapest reaching 500 euros, and all were sold out. In the stadium with the capacity of 22,000 spectators, there will be more than 15,000 Indian spectators. And a billion viewers in front of their screens.
Tickets that are selling like hotcakes
“The madness of the India-Pakistan match”, this is how the hindiphone indian newspaper describes Hindustan describe the craze for Sunday’s sporting confrontation. “70% of tickets were purchased by Indian spectators. In addition, 400 supporters left Kanpur (a city in northern India) to cheer on the team of Virat Kohli (the Indian captain). There will only be 18% Pakistani fans in the stadium,” brags the newspaper. Travel agencies are also under pressure. “People’s passion is such that they are willing to pay four times as much for tickets and twice as much for the tour packages we offer,” said a travel agent at the newspaper. The website of the International Cricket Council (CIC) broke down after ten minutes of opening.
“Virat Kohli’s army is ready to fight to beat Pakistan,” announces the daily in hindi Amar Ujala. “The game between India and New Zealand has been postponed due to rain, which is why the Indians are looking forward to Sunday’s game even more.” Asked about this match, the players show their enthusiasm but try to set an example of moderation. “The matches between our teams have always been competitive and people around the world are interested in them. We are very proud to be part of this match, but once on the pitch, we will focus exclusively on implementing our strategy,” explains Virat Kohli. In another article, the newspaper presents the eleven members of the team who “will smash Pakistan again”.
Cricket to achieve peace
“For both teams, a defeat would spell national disaster.warns Peter Oborne in an article for the magazine The Spectator. Still, the atmosphere between supporters will certainly be good-natured. No matter the friction, the fans always got on well.”
The British political commentator, for whom the rivalry between the two countries “is the most important in the sporting world”sees cricket as an antidote to Indo-Pakistani animosity. “Political leaders often use matches to make threats and play tough. These sporting events must always be analyzed in the context of past and future wars. But when India and Pakistan work out their differences and live in harmony (which they surely will), cricket will have helped them reconcile..”