Sport is full of passion and overflowing with rivalries. When it comes to cricket, it is easy to think that the most intense rivalry is seen during the Ashes when England face Australia. The truth though is that the cricketing world has a rivalry that far outweighs this and that can be found when looking at Pakistan and India.
While the IPL is the most-attended cricket league on the planet, both of these nations have a love of the sport, but what is it that sets this rivalry apart from others in the sporting world? Let’s take a look.
Countries at war
The game of cricket in India has links to the old British Colonial rule. It was a game allegedly already being played in the region which the British then went on to claim as their own. As British rule came to an end in 1947, the country of Pakistan was created and this became home to 10s of millions of Muslims in the region.
Since the creation of Pakistan, there have been regular wars being waged between it and India. For over 75 years the two countries have gone to war numerous times. Even during times of peace, tensions exist that could spill over at any time.
The impact on cricket
Both nations are passionate about cricket and this never shows more than when the teams go head to head. The underlying tensions have meant that matches between the two countries are not as regular as fans would like them to be. In fact, there have been times when tensions have been running so high that there have been gaps of 10 years without a match taking place.
There have even been occasions where the teams have faced each other whilst the nations have been at war with each other. What could spark a bigger rivalry than knowing that you probably have friends and relatives fighting each other at the precise moment that you are on the cricket pitch?
Two cricket crazed nations
The political tensions that exist between India and Pakistan have been to the detriment of the sport as a whole. Both nations have an obsession with the game, and each has a selection of players who can handle themselves on the world stage.
These teams competing against each other on a regular basis would create a great spectacle for fans of the sport and it would also allow the nations themselves to develop their abilities. It is an unfortunate fact that the political tensions just won’t allow for this.
The Indian advantage
While the rivalry between India and Pakistan is unlikely to wane, it appears that India is the country with the upper hand. It has become the go-to country for cricketing professionals and the Indian Premier League is probably the most lucrative cricket league in the world. This sees players from around the world coming to play knowing that they can earn as much as $2 million for playing a 2 month season.
So, as Indian cricket flourishes financially it also sees the sportsmen develop as they are playing against and alongside some of the greatest names in the world. Pakistan, on the other hand, is unable to tap into this. Why? Players from Pakistan are barred from playing in the league meaning that they miss out on both the financial rewards and the chances to develop. With the IPL continuing to grow there is a real danger that Pakistan is being left completely behind.