Delving the sub-continent one would find four cricketing nations India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh beaded together with a common thread called "crazy celebrations for the game" no matter in which part of the world the match was played.
India being a secular country, one can find fans worshipping their idols and deities in all possible ways and their sacred rituals would become a hot news topic for the channels to be telecasted before the big match day.
The same sort of religious worship should be going on with the other three nations in varying levels of intensity. Seeing the celebrations and the way the Pakistan spectators were jubilant while their nation was playing a game of Twenty20 in the Super 8's against New Zealand, reminded of the good ol' India/Pakistan rivalry days.
It is safe to admit that the intensity level had dropped by more than few notches in this decade as compared to the previous one, with extensive cricket played by India with different countries. They have discovered a new found rivalry with Australia after the epic 2001 series.
As Indian cricket was beginning to rise under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly at the start of this millenium, their rivals began losing their sheen, mainly with top players having rifts with the board and a few of them joining ICL to make quick buck. The recent terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers while they were heading to a stadium had brought cricket in Pakistan to a grinding halt.
Pakistan board was left in tatters and they recently had to play a one day series at a neutral venue against Australia in UAE.
Despite this mayhem, Pakistan still manages to bring talent in its rawest form to the team. Today it is 19-year-old Shahzaib Hasan who is a big striker of the cricket ball. Yesterday it was Hasan Raza, Imran Nazir, Aqib Javed, Saqlain Mustaq, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Asif Iqbal, Naveed Rana, Umar Gul, and the ever exciting Shahid Afridi.
What their arch rival India was always worried about the quality of medium pace bowlers that Pakistan was able to produce which does not have a strong domestic support for the game. Their neighbours would love to trade any of their medium pacers on any given day and the BCCI would immediately send them to MRF pace academy to hone his skills under the supervision of former Aussie pacer Dennis Lillie.
Time and again Pakistan has produced players who were not given a continuous run for the team. And if they were given opportunities, they were not properly groomed into a world class player with a specialization in batting or bowling.
The team would always have troubles and it is very difficult to find a standard 14 player combination with a core unit playing at an international level on a regular basis. It was even more visible in this decade when unheard players started making their debut for few matches before they were shown the door.
Despite all these odds, it is their will to succeed on a particular day that would give nightmares to the opposition even on their best day. An unknown force suddenly binds all these players on the field and they would play like champions.
Their pacemen would bowl a tight length. Their fielders would take blinders at point and even their rookie batsmen would display a fearless attitude against a good bowler in the world. All these traits were visible in their clinical rout against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup with Gul taking the best five wicket haul in T20 for a paltry six runs.
A fully charged up Pakistan is one of the best sights in world cricket. The passion to perform on the field is best seen in Pakistan's team than in any other team. The unity which was found lacking off the field would suddenly be seen on the field.
Out of the blue, one would find each of their team mates motivating one another and that team binding spirit by and large should sow the seeds of doubt in the opposition batsmen's minds while chasing in what should be termed as an easy target.
Every player would be ready to give a limb for their team and country. Friday or no friday hardly matters. The imminent thing is sure to follow and the opposition captain would truly acknowledge that his team was beaten fair and square. Dangerous Pakistan is always everyone would be worried and it is unfortunate that New Zealand had seen that today.
If one is a cricket fan, then he would definitely like to see the good old rivalry gaining prominence between the countries that have their independence day's in successive days, for the betterment of Pakistan and their importance attached to the competitiveness that they could generate in global cricket .
It is a pity that a country which had produced champion players like Zaheer Abbas, Saeed Anwar, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis is at the receiving end of the sport today and yet throw potential players to world cricket for reasons known and unknown.
There can be lot of similarities with the way the fans reacts after their team loses, but at least all these cricket playing nations from the sub-continent are not bonded with a common enigma.
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