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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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India Vs Pakistan; A time when the neighbours engaged in cricket while at war

After a representative of the cricket board disallowed the squad from travelling to Pakistan for the competition, India’s participation in the Asia Cup the following year is in doubt.

India vs Pakistan during war

According to Pakistan, such a decision might affect its attendance at the 2023 ICC World Cup in India. The BBC takes a look back at how the subcontinental rivals have generally gotten along well on the field, even during a war, on the eve of Sunday’s World T20 match.

Sunil Gavaskar, a hero of Indian cricket, recalls the period when his colleagues shared a changing room for nearly four months with their Pakistani counterparts while the South Asian neighbors were engaged in a conflict there.

Cricket talents from the subcontinent were a part of a Rest of the World squad that competed against the hosts in more than half a dozen matches in Australia, over 7,000 kilometers away.

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In December 1971, a nine-month conflict between Bangladesh and Pakistan came to a conclusion.

One of cricket’s all-time great opening batters, Gavaskar, claimed in his autobiography that despite the situation, there was “absolutely no friction” between Indian and Pakistani players.

“We went out to a Pakistani-owned restaurant almost every evening for dinner. The proprietor would listen to reports from various radio newscasts, jot them down in Urdu on a paper napkin, and hand the document to Intikhab. After giving it a quick glance, Inti would crumple it and discard it “Gavaskar wrote this in his 1976 book Sunny Days.

On the pitch, friendly banter between international cricketers regarding the subcontinental rivals took place. South African Hylton Ackerman, who batted first with Gavaskar, “used the circumstance to imagine some extremely amusing situations.”

One of them saw Engineer and Alam “facing each other with bayonets, myself on a fighter plane, with Asif Masood on a tail; and Bishen and Zaheer trying to flee.”

We laughed a lot, says Gavaskar.

There were several concerns off the field.

According to Gavaskar, Bedi was supposedly upset with Engineer for telling a local journalist that he was planning to ask his wife and girls to return to Lancashire, where Engineer had a residence because their Bombay (now Mumbai) home overlooked the sea.

The spinner was “upset about the conflict because his hometown Amritsar was close to the Pakistan border,” according to the spinner, who opted not to speak to reporters.

Read more cricket stories here.

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