This is a post inspired by this youtube video that I saw on facebook a little while ago. It captured the feelings of two nations beautifully, I felt. And raised goosebumps for a lot of people, certainly mine.
We may not see a lot of things in this match that we have had the privilege of seeing in a lot of past India Pakistan matches – the classic images that have made some past India Pakistan matches so legendary.
We will not see Aamer Sohail telling Venkatesh Prasad to go fetch the ball from the cover boundary after thrashing him for a boundary. We will not see a soft spoken, baby faced South India medium pacer (calling him a fast bowler would be a travesty to even Anil Kumble) invoking the female relatives of Aamer Sohail giving him a royal sendoff to the pavilion after bowling him with a magnificent leg cutter.
We will not see Ajay Jadeja carting one of the (then) fastest bowlers in the world effortlessly over extra cover for six, or the same bowler, his confidence and bowling figures shattered, come back in his last over to get Jadeja out.
We will not see a belligerent Saeed Anwar, carting the Indian bowlers to all parts of Chepauk on the way to the highest ODI score at that time, or a futile Rahul Dravid special in reply to that.
We will not see Hrishikesh Kanitkar sweeping Saqlain for four to midwicket, to clinch a nail biter and bring up the highest second innings winning total in ODI’s.
We will not see Saqlain Mushtaq, with his mesmerizing off spinners, drawing batsmen forward only to deceive them in flight and in turn, and get them to spoon a catch. We will not see Virender Sehwag mauling Saqlain, like he did in Multan, carting him to all parts of Mohali, effectively making a mockery of his much admired skills.
We will not see Misbah five runs, as he came to be known then, try to kill Joginder Sharma’s career by carting him for one of the most monstrous sixes seen in the game, and then try to play an audacious scoop shot over the head of short fine leg and gift India the World Cup.
We will not see Bhajji hoist Mohammad Amir into the stands for a six, a la Javed Miandad and Chetan Sharma to win India the match.
We will not see a warrior of a bowler, running through the Pakistani line up, taking all ten wickets on the way to an India victory in Delhi. We will not see another Sachin Tendulkar epic, like in Chennai, painfully keeping the rampant Pakistanis at bay with a gritty, courageous, though ultimately futile 136.
We may not see Shoaib Akhtar running in at full steam, unleashing thunderbolts designed to dislodge the stumps and bring them to rest a good 10 yards behind the wicket, like he did to Dravid and Sachin in a test match at Kolkata. We may not see the Little Genius rising up to the challenge thrown up by Shoaib, upper cutting a 95 mph delivery for an unbelievable six over third man.
What we will see, though, in another two days, is two champion teams, one mercurially talented, young and fearless, rebuilding after a difficult phase; one a little more settled, unbelievably experienced, overcoming dramatic collapses to claim stake to the tag of the best team in the world, play each other to get a chance to go for the ultimate prize in ODI Cricket. One of the most dangerous batting lineups in the world will face one of the most effective bowling lineups in the world. One champion will be aiming to get to his 100th international century, with a team determined to back him up in one of the most important games they have played, and other team equally determined to stop him from doing so, and win their first World Cup game against the opposition.
What we will see is two nations come to a standstill two days from now, office and schools being closed early, with a billion and a half people, including the highest leaders of the two countries, watching, praying, hoping and egging their teams on to win.
What we will see is something that people have been salivating about ever since India and Pakistan were drawn into separate groups in this World Cup, and has had people on tenterhooks ever since Pakistan routed the Windies, and India knocked the reigning world champs out of the tournament – India versus Pakistan in a World Cup knockout game.
It will be a Wednesday to remember.
Let the game begin.