This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Martand Jha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Cricket Rivalry Between India And Pakistan That’s Spanned 69 Years

More from Martand Jha

India and Pakistan are two countries that absolutely love cricket, and whenever these two teams play with each other, it creates a unique aura, both inside and outside the stadium. There is a reason behind the competition between the two countries being unique. The competition is very political and diplomatic in nature.

The rivalry between these two South Asian neighbours dates back to 1947 when Pakistan was carved out from India on religious lines by the Britishers who were till then the colonial masters of the Indian subcontinent. The partition led to horrific incidents of mass killings, rapes, rioting in different parts of India as well as Pakistan. This left some very bitter memories which remain imprinted in the minds of people from both sides.

The first Indo-Pak cricket series was played in 1954 when the Pakistani team toured India. Since then, cricket lovers on both sides cannot bear the thought of losing a match to the other side. One could see this in the angry reactions of the crowds when either of two teams lost on their home soil. Thousands of Indian fans were granted visas to go Lahore when the Indian team went to Pakistan to play a test series for the first time, and the Pakistani government did the same when their team toured India in 1961.

But the concept of ‘Cricket Diplomacy’ came much later because at that point in time Hockey was a much popular sport in both countries compared to cricket. The India before partition was also an Olympic champion in Hockey. The two teams only played three test series between 1947 and 1965, and there was a very little window left for using Cricket as a tool to maintain goodwill between India and Pakistan.

The wars in 1965 and 1971 led to complete stoppage of cricketing ties between the two nations. After a gap of 17 years, cricket was resumed between the two countries in 1978. The resuming of cricketing ties was a result of the governments in power in both the countries which were not in power during the 1971 war. In India, it was the Janata Party’s government led by Morarji Desai while General Zia-ul-Haq headed Pakistan’s government.

The 1978 test series was mired in controversies.  The infamous Sahiwal incident, where Sarfraz Nawaz bowled an excess of bumpers that were out of the batsmen’s reach, and the umpires chose not to intervene. I think, the biased umpiring against India conjured an image of a Pakistan that wanted to defeat India, either by hook or by crook. Bishan Singh Bedi, in response to the lack of intervention by the umpires, conceded the match in protest.

Kapil Dev in his autobiography, “Straight from the Heart” mentions this series, which also his debut in international cricket.  He elaborated on how bad the conditions were for the Indian team. A lot of sledging, poor umpiring decisions against India made life difficult for the Indian team on tour.

The media gave extremists and right-wing forces the platform to speak venomously about the other side. The peacekeepers and cricket fans were happy though when the two sides continued to play with each other in the next few years.

Soutik Biswas, an online correspondent for BBC News, India, wrote in his blog about Indo-Pak cricket diplomacy. He said, “Sometimes it has come as an icebreaker; at other times; it has merely marked a deceptive lull before another storm. Former Pakistani President General Zia-ul-Haq started it all when he came to India to watch a Test match between the two sides in February 1987 as part of his “cricket for peace initiative” because India had launched a huge military exercise on its border during the winter, and a rattled Pakistan had bolstered troops on its borders in response.”

Cricket continued to be played at neutral venues like Sharjah, while only one bilateral series was played between the two countries till nearly the end of the millennium. Sharjah was an extremely popular venue for One Day Cricket and the reason why Indo-Pak matches were so popular there was because a sizable number of both Indians and Pakistani expatriates lived there, giving the stadium a truly neutral character as both teams were supported by their respective fan base.

Tensions grew after India’s tour to Pakistan in 1989 for a full-fledged one-day and test series. The reason was the rising insurgency in Kashmir that led to the deterioration in the political ties between the two countries. The Shiv Sena dug cricket pitches out at the Wankhede Stadium in 1991, and the Ferozshah Kotla stadium in 1999 to stop cricket matches from happening between the two countries as the situation was tense at the border.

India visited Pakistan for a short ODI series in 1997 and Pakistan came back to participate in the Asian Test Championship in India in 1999. Three world cups happened in 1992, 1996 and 1999 and, in all three India defeated Pakistan. The situation between the two nations remained tense throughout the end of the last millennium and afterwards.

Infact, when India was playing Pakistan in 1999 world cup in England, back home the Kargil War had started. The situation had become so bad that India decided to pull back from the second Asian Test Championship in 2001. It was only in 2004 when things seemed to go back to normal as both teams visited each other’s country twice to play both Test and ODI cricket. India went to Pakistan for a full-fledged ODI and Test series in 2004 and 2006, while Pakistan reciprocated by visiting India in 2005 and 2007.

Cricket ties got better to the point that both countries found playing with each other every year, which was a treat for all cricket fans. In fact, the BCCI celebrated its Platinum Jubilee by inviting Pakistan to come and play a match against India at the historic Eden Gardens.

The 26/11 Mumbai attacks severely damaged cricket ties between the two countries, except for one short tour of the Pakistani team in India in 2012.  India was scheduled to play a full-fledged series in Pakistan in Jan-Feb 2009, which was cancelled after the Mumbai attacks. After 26/11, the two teams only play against each other in ICC tournaments, where India continues to have the upper hand against Pakistan as it continues to maintain its invincible record against Pakistan in world cups.

India defeated Pakistan twice in the inaugural T20 World Cup. India also won matches against Pakistan in the 50 over world cups in 2011 and 2015. After the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in February 2009 and had to be airlifted from the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, not a lot of cricket is being played in Pakistan anymore.

There seems no possibility of the resumption of bilateral cricket between the two nations and relations have worsened in the last couple of years. Cricket Diplomacy was at its best when the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani for the world cup semi-final match between the two sides at Mohali.

After that, PM Modi tried to reach out to Pakistan and called Nawaz Sharif before Indo-Pak World Cup clash in 2015 and talked about mending cricketing ties between the two nations and talks were termed successful.

But after the Pathankot and Uri attacks this year, both cricket diplomacy and diplomatic talks otherwise, has taken a backseat. The Pakistan team wasn’t allowed to play at the scheduled venue, Dharmshala, against India in this year’s T20 World Cup and at the last moment, the venue had to be shifted to Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

India is scheduled to play with Pakistan next, at the Champions Trophy in June 2017.


Image source: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images
You must be to comment.

More from Martand Jha

Similar Posts

By Devansh Mishra

By Aditya pratap Singh

By Akshay Bajad

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below