T20 World Cup: Controversies served as main course when India, Pakistan clash on cricket field

Sports |  IANS  | Published :

Mumbai, June 8 (IANS) Controversy is the side dish when India play Pakistan in any sporting event. But when it comes to cricket and that too the World Cups of either format, controversies at times become the main course and cricket the side dish.

The rivalry between the two neighbours has been fostered by passion, aggression and an intense hatred towards losing to each other for more than half a century and the advent of white-ball cricket has only stoked the embers as the two countries had frequently played cricket at neutral venues in the 1980s and 90s.

The rivalry on the field has, over the years, has been spiced up by three wars, the Kargil War, the Mumbai terrorist attack, frequent border skirmishes and tempered by diplomatic flashpoints at the United Nations and other international fora.

Though currently there is a stoppage in bilateral cricket between the two countries since Pakistan last toured India for a white-ball series in December 2012, they still play each other in ICC and Asian Cricket Council official events, this maintaining the tremendous interest among fans all around the World. At the World Cups of either formats, India and Pakistan have clashes on 13 occasions with India winning all but the 2022 T20 World Cup clash in Australia.

Mind games, sledging (on and off the field), and provocative utterances by the various stakeholders is par for the course for Indo-Pak matches.

The chatter usually starts a few days before the encounter and continues well after dust had settled on the match -- and sometimes it goes on beyond that extended period and becomes a part of our memory and stays in history for eternity.

As the arch rivals get ready for a crucial clash in the on-going ICC Men's T20 World Cup at the Nassau Country International Cricket Stadium in New York on Sunday, here's a look at some controversial moments that have spiced up the rivalry and kept the fans interested and clashing on the social media.

Miandad's monkey jumps in response to More's chatter:

This is one of the most memorable moments on the field during an India-Pakistan white-ball match and happened during the 1992 World Cup in Australia.

Chasing a modest target of 217 made possible by a Sachin Tendulkar half-century, Pakistan were in trouble after losing early wickets. Aamer Sohail's 62 helped them get into three figures, but his departure followed by quick dismissals of Salim Malik, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Wasim Haider, left the indiminatble Javed Miandad waging a lone battle.

The aged star was struggling to score against the Indian bowlers and his frustration grew further by over exuberance on part of wicketkeeper Kiran More, who was literally chatting in the Pakistan legend's ears standing up to the spinners.

More's verbal volley's irked Miandad so much that after a failed run-out attempt by the Indians, the Pakistani great executed some monkey jumps on the crease at the striker's end holding his bat horizontally, trying to imitate, in his own style, the diminutive Kiran More's highly-spirited performance in the field, sending the spectators into peals of laughter. Miandad got out soon for 40 off 110 balls and India won the match by 43 runs.

Venkatesh Prasad-Aamer Sohail clash in 1996 World Cup:

India had posted a challenging 287/8 in the quarterfinal encounter in the 1996 World Cup at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on choosing to bat first, thanks mainly to a 115-ball 93 by Navjot Singh Sidhu and a quick-fire 45 by Ajay Jadeja.

Pakistan were cruising along in their chase with Sohail and Saeed Anwar adding 84 runs for the first wicket stand. Sohail was in particularly billigerant mood and after hitting medium pacer Venkatesh Prasad for a boundary in the 15th over, spiced it up with a few abusive words and pointed towards the pavilion with his bat, aggressively telling Prasad that he will hit the next delivery there.

Prasad responded by shattering his stumps and gave Sohail a fiery send-off to the dressing room with the other Indian players too directing some verbal volley's at the departing Pakistani batter. India won the quarterfinal clash by 39 runs for another memorable moment for them against the archrivals.

Gambhir-Afridi clash in Kanpur ODI in 2007:

With Gautam Gambhir leading the charge for India, Shahid Afridi tried to unsettle him. The Pakistan allrounder bumped into Gambhir as the Indian left-hander completed a run. Gambhir gave it back to Afridi and their altercation ended only after the umpires intervened and told them to cool it down.

Gambhir-Kamran Akmal joust in 2010:

This happened during the Asia Cup final in Mirpur, Bangladesh in 2010 and Gambhir was in the thick of things once again. The left-handed Indian opener was irked by the constant appeals by Pakistan wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal and got into a heated argument during the drinks break. Skipper M.S. Dhoni had to step in to cool down things.

Asia Cup hosting issue in Pakistan:

Though this was mostly off the field, this controversy broiled over in 2023 with BCCI refusing to send the team across the border for the Asia Cup to be hosted by Pakistan.

BCCI secretary and ACC president Jay Shah said the Indian team will not travel to Pakistan for Asia Cup matches as the government is reluctant to allow that. Pakistan Cricket Board president Ramiz Raja threatened that they will not send their team to India for the 2023 ODI World Cup.

After protracted negotiations, Pakistan agreed to a hybrid model with India playing their matches in Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home. The two teams clashes in Sri Lanka and that left a bitter taste in the mouth across the border.

The Pakistan team visited India for the 2023 World Cup and lost to the hosts in their league match in Ahmedabad. The match was marred by allegations of delay in granting of visa to the visiting Pakistani fans.

Though the buildup to their impending clash in New York on Sunday has been rather quiet and tame by their past record, controversy can't be far away when it comes to an India versus Pakistan match.

With India winning their opening match against Ireland in ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 and Pakistan slumping to a humiliating defeat to the United States in a Super Over, sparks are likely to fly when the archrivals meet in New York.

So, expect the unexpected in Sunday's Indo -Pak clash.

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