Of fire and friendship: A brief history of the India vs Pakistan cricket rivalry


One of the most heated sports rivalries in the world is that between India and Pakistan.

A Sporting Dawn: India vs. Pakistan’s Inaugural Test Match

Nothing particularly significant in global history occurred on October 16, 1952, unless it is seen in the perspective of cricket and, in general, sports. It was Day 1 of the first Test match between India and Pakistan, marking the beginning of a battle that would become known as one of the most storied and heated sporting rivalries in history, let alone in cricket.

Additionally significant, Pakistan’s journey as a Test-playing country began on this day, making all of its players officially making their Test debuts for Pakistan. However, several of them had previously participated in Test cricket as a member of the Indian squad, and as a result, they shared a dressing room with many of the players they were now competing against, including captain Abdul Kardar.

The location was the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, now known as the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. Both sides were populated by individuals whose names would become synonymous with pioneering in their own nations and beyond. Lala Amarnath served as the team’s captain, and among the players were Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Hazare, Vijay Manjrekar, and Polly Umrigar, the most of whom now have trophies named in their honor.

Kardar, Hanif Mohammed, and Amir Elahi all appeared in Pakistan. That game was won by India by an innings and 70 runs, but Pakistan responded by winning by an innings of their own. According to reports, the Lucknow crowd erupted against the Indian squad and pelted the team bus with stones. To save his team, Captain Amarnath ultimately had to wriggle through the mob with a lathi.

Later, Amarnath would accuse Hazare, Mankad, and Hemu Adhikari of plotting against him by choosing not to participate in that game. India made up for their errors in the third Test at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, winning by 10 wickets, although both teams were worn out by the strains of the game and used defensive strategies in the next two games. Both came to a tie, and India won 2-1 in the series. Thus, in the very first cricket series between the two countries, the ferocity of the rivalry and the sheer inability to accept loss were on full show.

A Global Phenomenon: The Monumental Appeal of India-Pakistan Matches

There were several allegations of referees siding with the home side and other shady host country tactics throughout the 20th century’s matches between the two countries. Adulation for the players from the two teams began to spread over the border, despite the fact that the games and performances were of such high caliber. Imran Khan, the legendary all-around player and former captain of Pakistan, was featured in some of the iconic Indian advertisements, some of which also included legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar.

The 1987 World Cup was moved out of England for the first time due to political maneuvering by the Indian and Pakistani cricket boards; this decision also signifies a historic change in the power dynamics within the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The tumultuous ties between the two nations were always a factor in the frequency of bilateral series between the two sides. The two teams squared off in 14 Test matches between 1998 and 2008, a ten-year span. With the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, that epoch essentially came to an end. Although Pakistan traveled to India for a three-ODI and two T20I series in 2012–2013, it still stands as the only bilateral encounter between the two sides. But since then, the two teams have faced off against one another many times in ICC competitions and the Asia Cup. No matter how the game turned out, it always ended up being by far the biggest match of those tournaments.

According to the ICC, the India-Pakistan match alone attracted 273 million viewers out of the 706 million viewers who tuned in for the entire 2019 World Cup. For the first time since that game, the two teams will now square off in an ODI on Saturday at the 2023 Asia Cup.


Comparison records

Pakistan has typically had the advantage in head-to-head records in ODI cricket, the format in which the two countries will square off on Saturday, while India dominated in the previous ten years. India prevailed in 10 of the 14 games the two teams played between 2010 and 2020. 136 One-Day Internationals have been played between the two teams, with Pakistan winning 73 and India winning 55. Up till 2013, there were 17 bilateral ODI series played, with Pakistan winning 11 and India only 5.

India is the undisputed leader in T20I matches. They have won nine of their last twelve games, including the game that India won in a bowl-out in the 2007 T20 World Cup. A staggering 38 of the 58 Test matches that two teams have played against one another have been drawn. India won nine games, while Pakistan won 11. Seven games were drawn, tying the head-to-head series between the two teams at 4-4.

With 2526 runs in 67 innings, Sachin Tendulkar leads both sides in ODI run scoring. Inzamam-ul-Haq, a former captain of Pakistan, leads the team in scoring with 2403 runs in 64 innings. Wasim Akram leads the contest in one-day international matches with 60 wickets, while Anil Kumble leads India with 54. Sunil Gavaskar (2089) scored the most runs for India, while Javed Miandad (2228 runs) had the highest overall total. Imran Khan (23) is Pakistan’s most effective bowler, whereas Kapil Dev (29) holds the record for most wickets taken.

Virat Kohli leads the field in T20I run scoring with 488 runs, while Mohammad Rizwan leads Pakistan with 197 runs. Between the two sides, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Umar Gul of India hold the record for most wickets in T20 games with 11.

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