The Intense Rivalry of India vs Pakistan in Cricket
The Cricketing World’s Greatest Rivalry
The cricketing world has no greater rivalry than the clash between India and Pakistan. These matches between the two nations, both fervently devoted to the sport, ignite an unparalleled level of emotion and tension whenever they face off. Recent years have seen their encounters limited to continental tournaments like the Asia Cup and ICC competitions, owing to political tensions preventing bilateral series. This scarcity of head-to-head contests only amplifies the anticipation and excitement surrounding their meetings. Even legendary former Indian captain MS Dhoni, recognized as one of cricket’s finest leaders, is not immune to the allure of this rivalry, as players from both sides yearn to be part of this spectacular spectacle.
Dhoni’s Inspirational Moment
Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar has shared a rather inspirational moment from one of the Asia Cup editions in 2016, narrating a story about how Dhoni defied all odds, and battled an injury to ensure he remains available for Team India for the iconic clash against Pakistan. Dhoni was the captain of the Indian team at the time and faced an injury while lifting weights during a gym session.
According to Bangar, the injury was so severe that Dhoni couldn’t even move sideways. However, the former captain was committed for the race against time to lead the side come the Pakistan encounter.
“Actions speak louder than words. It was no way possible that MS (Dhoni) could’ve play through the Asia cup, and the match against Pakistan. He wasn’t able to move sideways, he wasn’t able to run. Despite that, he wanted to show that he was there for the team.
“He ran the park. He did everything he could. A lot of it is unsaid, players know the importance of this game,” Bangar further said. Dhoni eventually attained full match-fitness to appear in the XI, and captained the side to a five-wicket win.
Seven Years On, the Rivalry Intensifies
Seven years since the 2016 Asia Cup game, the India-Pakistan matches have become a lot more competitive, thanks to Babar Azam’s ascendancy to leadership. Particularly since 2019, Pakistan have been challenging India in ICC and continental tournaments, winning two and losing as many in four T20Is during the time period. Babar’s men broke the T20 World Cup losing streak against India in 2021, beating the side by 10 wickets in Dubai, and also defeated the side in the last year’s Asia Cup in Super 4 stage.