T20 World Cup: India versus Pakistan will provide thrilling competition, says Arshad Ayub

Abhijit Sen Gupta
Abhijit Sen Gupta

Hyderabad: Cricket fans in Hyderabad will be delighted to know that the city has been included in the list of centers which will host the matches of the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in October-November. The BCCI has announced that the other centers will be Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Dharamsala. The final will be played in Ahmedabad.

And the fact that the Indian government has confirmed that visas will be granted to the Pakistan cricket team to play in the event, is the icing on the cake. Now if the threat of coronavirus subsides by then, it will be a big relief to all concerned.

The Indian Government’s decision on visas means that Pakistan led by their superbly talented captain Babar Azam will have no difficulties in participating in the matches. Contests involving India versus Pakistan have always caught the imagination of cricket fans on both sides of the border. There have been many unforgettable moments in these battles.

Former Hyderabad captain Arshad Ayub who played 33 Test matches and 62 ODIs for India welcomed the move of the government and said that he expects to see some great competition in the World Cup.

Speaking to siasat.com he said: “I welcome the magnanimous gesture of the Indian Government. It will promote development of cricket in both countries. Fans in India as well as in Pakistan love to see the two teams playing against each other and most of the time there is a feeling of camaraderie and mutual appreciation,” he said.

“There have been so many unforgettable incidents when India and Pakistan have clashed on the cricket field. Who can forget the final of the Australia-Asia Cup in Sharjah in 1986. Pakistan needed four runs off the last ball for a win. Javed Miandad lofted the last ball, which was a full toss from Chetan Sharma, over the boundary for a six to shatter India’s hopes,” recalled Arshad.

“The Haryana all rounder had also taken the first hat-trick in the history of the World Cup when in 1987 he dismissed New Zealanders Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewan Chatfield off successive balls. But it is that last ball six that stays in mind most of the time,” said Arshad.

“But there have also been many other memorable incidents in India-Pak contests. There was one incident in a match in Peshawar when Mushtaq Ahmed was an upcoming leg-spinner in the Pakistan line up. After Sachin Tendulkar (who was then a young player himself) hit Mushtaq for a couple of sixes, the senior bowler Abdul Qadir asked Sachin “Bachche ko kyun maar rahe ho? Dum hai to mujhe maar ke dikhao.” That was enough for Sachin. He banged away with gusto and took 28 runs off Qadir’s over,” recalls Arshad.

In the Wills Asia Cup at Dhaka in 1988, Arshad Ayub helped India to record a 4 wicket win over Pakistan. Arshad was at his best that day as he snapped up 5 wickets for 21 runs off 9 overs. His victims included Rameez Raja, Aamer Malik, Shoaib Mohammed, Naved Anjum and the dangerous Wasim Akram. All of them were either clean bowled or trapped leg before wicket. Although Wasim Akram is known as a bowler it must not be forgotten that he has also scored 257 in a Test match.

“Over the years Pakistan has produced several fantastic players. I have played against Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad, Salim Malik, Waqar Yunus, Abdul Qadir, Aquib Javed and others. Although the competition on the field is very intense, off the field we had some very good interaction with the Pakistani players,” recalled Arshad.

“Pakistan has always had very talented players. But sometimes they have not been able to produce results as a team. Now, they have done quite well against South Africa. This time it looks like the young players are at last hitting it off together and the side seems to be working well. Babar Azam has batted with great confidence. So they will probably be a very competitive outfit,” said Arshad.

“I hope that we will all see a very good competition in the World Cup. It is a good move since Pakistan has not played in India for a very long time. Likewise, India too has not played in Pakistan for many years. We should play against each other more often. In the near future I hope to see a bilateral series between India and Pakistan again,” Arshad concluded.

Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.

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