Pakistan vs India: The bat and ball uniting people on both sides of the border

Aliha Ejaz

Forget all the sporting rivalries. The match between Pakistan and India is one of its own kind. It has its intensity, pressure, and viewership of over a billion people. It makes memories of a lifetime—a roller coaster of emotions both on and off the field for people on both sides of the border. 

It's perfect to say that cricket is a barometer of relations between the two countries — they play when there's a thaw.

“When they start playing bilaterals regularly, you will see a totally different attitude of players and supporters. They love watching cricket as a sport, as a rivalry, which is healthy," said former Pakistani captain and all-rounder Asif Iqbal.

"You can fight tooth and nail on the field and then enjoy a good time off the field,” he said.

Such is the significance of the game that satirical ads are made in both countries taking swipes at each other. 

In one ad, an Indian supporter is seen calling himself abbu (father), referring to India’s dominance against their rivals, while another ad from Pakistan took a jibe at Abhinandan—the Indian pilot caught and later released by Pakistan forces.

Banter aside, bilateral cricket between the cricket-crazy nations, unfortunately, faces the brunt of diplomatic tensions. 

The Indian government, despite repeated requests, has come in the way of bilateral series and people-to-people exchange.

But where both countries appear to be 'drastically' different from each other (as portrayed by some), and rivalry has heightened due to recent events, it seems that the game of bat and ball still bonds people on both sides. 

India has its fair share of Pakistani cricket fans. A photo that went viral on social media showed a fan apparently in Lahore wearing a green jersey having 'Virat' printed on the back.

Kohli fan spotted in Lahore donning Pakistan World Cup kit. 

A nail-biting match is expected to be played on Sunday. Fans and followers on both sides of the border eagerly await the weaponless battle to begin. Today, ball and bat will be uniting people of both the countries again after a long time.