India vs. Pakistan: a cricket match in which players are separated (Part 2)
The unofficial ban – weak enough to allow someone like Wasim Akram to become bowling instructor for Knight Kolkata Knight – kept Pakistan’s top players in the waiting room. Even if the ban is lifted, which franchise will be prepared to take risks, can they guarantee the player’s protection from an extremist with grudge?
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Super League is developing nicely, but no Indian player is wearing gloves. BCCI likes to keep Indian male players dry powder for IPL, although they only allow their female players to play in Big Bash. This may be a reason why Yuvraj Singh has retired, so he can freely trade globally.
This physical distance between the two teams also creates an emotional distance. There is still a common language, a common food, a shared culture, but over the past five years, the two sides have disappeared up and down into two different stratosphere.
Meanwhile, once they would hang out together at Sufi music concerts, that was slowly drifting away. The players are very intimate, but the old relationship, the friendship that goes with spending hours and days together on a trip, is gone. A leading Indian commentator said that it is like having close neighbors, not like you.
At the 2017 Champions Cup, Pakistani athlete Sarfaraz Khan wanted to get some advice from MS Dhoni, but a meeting could not be arranged – not because of any mutual dislike, but because Life has become too complicated. Once upon a time, they would wander into each other’s changing rooms.
The Indian team has become supernovas, the world’s superstars have such a reputation that they are more likely to live, eat, breathe and play in bubbles – with room play stations, beards and sports tattoos.
For Pakistan, their mere existence as a team could be in draw days Their greatest success made it the best – see their excitement beating England at the Trent Bridge – a small miracle. They are deprived, unprepared, don’t have a proper home and do everything with a glance, a wing and a prayer. Pakistan’s work is real as it is invisible, but it may be possible to do with a little more money every hour and again.
Perhaps what unites the players from the two teams in 2019 is that the shared experience from playing a game has more political and cultural significance than any other game on the planet, ready and waiting. to be attacked by those with agendas. A game watched by more than a billion people around the world, to a passionate stadium: a celebration, a competition, a pressure, which only 22 people can understand.