The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry makes England versus Australia look more like a tea-party. Ahead of tomorrow’s (Sunday) match between the neighbouring Asian countries at Edgbaston in the Champions Trophy, Chris Lyles has been on the India-Pakistan trivia trail. And one or two things may surprise you.
- Three players – Abdul Hafeez Kardar, Amir Elahi and Gul Mahomed – have represented both India and Pakistan at Test-match level. They represented India prior to Independence before subsequently playing for the then recently created Pakistan, following the Partition of India in 1947.
- The two countries have squared up to each other in 59 Tests, with India winning nine and Pakistan 12. They did not play a Test against each other between 1961 and 1978. And nor have they faced each other in a Test since 2007. Local difficulties and all that.
- A one-day international (ODI) – the second in a scheduled three-match series – at Sialkot, Pakistan in October 1984 was abandoned (with Dilip Vengsarkar, the India batsman, left marooned on 94 not out) after news reached the ground that Indira Ghandi, the India Prime Minister, had been assassinated. The rest of the tour was cancelled.
- Although Pakistan hold the upper hand over their great rivals in ODIs (72 victories to 51), the World Cup record between the two countries reads: India 6 Pakistan 0. That said, Pakistan have won two of the three previous Champions Trophy encounters between the two sides.
- Sachin Tendulkar will forever be part of Indian cricketing folklore and it is a well-known fact that he made his international debut at the age of 16. But you may find it a touch surprising to know that when he first appeared in the international arena, he was representing a Pakistani side. Brabourne Stadium, Bombay (now Mumbai) was the venue in January 1987 for a star-studded exhibition match between an Indian XI and a Pakistani XI to mark the golden jubilee of the prestigious Cricket Club of India. And the 13-year-old Tendulkar was given the opportunity to come onto the field as a substitute fielder for the Pakistani XI when Javed Miandad and Abdul Qadir apparently decided to retire early to their hotel.
- The Little Master may have scored a run or two in his time. In India-Pakistan ODIs, however, only Javagal Srinath and Shahid Afridi, with six apiece, have recorded more than Tendulkar’s five ducks.
- Anil Kumble is one of only two bowlers to have taken all 10 wickets in a Test innings. The Indian leg-spinner did so against Pakistan at Delhi in 1999.
- The 2011 World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan proved to be a reasonably strong attraction. It drew a television audience of 988 million viewers.
- MS Dhoni, the India wicketkeeper/batsman, averages 58.38 against Pakistan in ODIs. Among those players who have batted at least 10 times, that is comfortably the highest average by any player on either side in the history of ODIs between the two countries.
May the best team win!