India-Pakistan Gentleman’s Game: Battle Beyond The Boundary

Players had to be given sleeping pills to fall asleep a night before an India-Pakistan match“, said Imran Khan, former Pakistan pacer in a statement before the much anticipated India- Pakistan Champions Trophy Final a few days ago. Shedding light on what has been termed as an ‘Arch Rivalry’ between the two countries, this particular statement by Imran Khan itself is a clear validation of how  India-Pakistan cricket matches are more than just a match.

POLITICISATION OF SPORTSMAN-SPIRIT

After the dominating win of Pakistan over India in the Champions Trophy Final, two different kinds of videos went viral on the social media. Some showed Pakistani fans bullying Indian supporters after the win while the other video which surfaced was that of Shoaib Malik and a few players of the Indian Cricket team, visibly including Kohli and Yuvraj sharing a laugh together.

The upsetting element here, however, is how these cricketers drew flak for joking around with the Pakistani players. The criticism came from a large section of population which ridiculed not only the Indian team but also the BCCI for not objecting India’s match with their cross border rival, Pakistan. There were numerous trolls across the internet and comments which indicated that instead of taking revenge for their brothers’ who lose their lives in cross border firing, Indian cricketers on the other hand are indulging in merry-making with the Pakistanis.

FREEDOM BEING COMMUNALIZED in the name of FAKE SEDITION CHARGES?

Who would have thought that a sports match and, also, fan’s support for a particular team would reignite the debate of hyper-nationalism and also resurface the question mark on how tolerant India is as a country.  But yes, the finale between India and Pakistan held on the 18th of this month led to the arrest of 15 Indians. Shocking as it may sound, fifteen men in Madhya Pradesh were charged with sedition for supporting Pakistan in the finale. However, only today, the same charges were proven false as the complainant, Mr. Koli took a reverse turn by stating that nobody had chanted pro-Pakistan slogans on the night of Pakistan’s win. He is now alleging the police of lodging a false complaint under his name and says that he was threatened by the police.

If these revelations are to be believed, then the freedom to express certainly is under a dire threat in the country. The same argument has been supported by Indians across the globe as they believe that supporting different players or teams for that matter could be a plain matter of choice. While many Indians may have ABD from South Africa or Brett Lee from Australia s their favourite, the fact that a false complaint was being filed under the veil of the already existing communal tensions between India-Pakistan is a sad affair.

Similar incidents were reported in Karnataka where six people were arrested for celebrating Pakistan’s victory and two charged with sedition. Well certainly, personal rivals now have found a brilliant way to seek revenge from one another in the name of sedition.

While there is no doubt about how cross border disputes have always escalated tensions within cricket boundariesthe recent Champions trophy final where the two teams met after a decade to fight for a title (T-20 World Cup being the last one in 2007), is a proof of how politics and terror has plagued the gentlemen’s game. Considering the fact that what we are talking about here is an incident related to sports, it certainly isn’t the Pakistani Cricketers who are to be blamed for the strained political relations.  Well, undoubtedly, the India-Pakistan battle has surpassed all the boundaries- whether it is the cricket field boundary or the off field boundary across the border.

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IPL 10 or IPLR- Indian Premier League of Records?

By Naina Sharma

The season 10 of IPL has been a very unpredictable one so far. While some teams like Mumbai have consistently given brilliant performances, there are others like RCB which have had a season that the team-members and fans would rather wish to forget. Amidst the thrill and competition, this entertaining season has also slated several records under its belt. For all the cricket enthusiasts, there are 3 main records which are too astonishing to  ignore.

Lowest score in 10 seasons: All of us know how devastating this IPL season has been for Virat Kohli- led Royal Challengers Bangalore. The star studded RCB was the first team to have got disqualified from its run to the playoffs. To add to their misery, the team has the record of getting bowled out all the lowest possible score of 49 on April 23rd, in their first match against KKR.

Biggest Victory and Biggest Defeat: In another encounter between Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians on 6th May 2017, the Mumbai Indians qualified for the playoffs white continuing to be at the top of the points table. It was in this particular match where Mumbai broke the record of having the highest winning margin to their name as it swept off DD by a humongous 146 runs.

In the very same match, another record was made as Delhi Daredevils, in the process, registered their lowest total ever of a paltry 66 runs.  Earlier, the ‘daring’ Devils’ lowest total was 67,  just a run behind in the very same season against a match with Kings Eleven Punjab. The previous record of the highest margin victory was held by the currently disqualified RCB which registered a 144 run victory against Suresh Raina’s Gujarat Lions in 2016. RCB, had placed a hefty target of 249 for GL in this match held last year.

Fastest 50 in IPL history:  The Kolkata Knight Riders vs RCB match in Bengaluru on 7th May, 2017 was a total give away since the in- form KKR had to chase a petty score of 159. KKR not only won its second match against RCB, the opening batsman, Sunil Naraine also went up to create an all new record of this season. The batsman scored a quick 50 off a just 15 balls. His was a ballistic performance and reminded the Kolkata fans of Yusuf Pathan’s earlier innings in 2014. A coincidence as it may seem, KKR member Sunil Naraine shares his record of hitting the fastest half century in IPL with his fellow IPL team mate, Yusuf Pathan who also had hit a 50 off 15 balls in 2014.

With the playoffs yet to begin, the IPL season 10 has already been a record breaker. As the season heads towards its conclusive stage, the fans are not only eager to know the names of remaining three qualifying teams but also wait for all the thrill and records that may unfold in the latter and crucial part of the league.

 

(Image Courtesy: Sify)

IPL 10- The worst season for RCB?

By Naina Sharma

With scores like 49 all out, and a bad streak of 9 losses out of the 11 matches played, IPL 10 has proven to be one of the biggest nightmares for Virat Kohli led Royal Challengers Bangalore after the season 10 of much anticipated league started off with a match between the former finalist, RCB and the defending champions, Sun Risers Hyderabad. The team has virtually knocked out of its race to the playoffs despite having the strongest batting line up amongst all the 8 franchises competing for the trophy.

RCB creates History!

The team however, ended up creating IPL history at Eden Gardens. Ironic as it may sound, the RCB has slated one record under its belt and that is of getting bowled out for the lowest tournament total ever of 49 in the past decade combined. It was in this particular match held on 23rd of April against the in-form Kolkata Knight riders that three players of the Royals were dismissed for a duck and none from the team managed to make it to a score of double digits. It was only 6 days later that RCB succumbed to another low score of 96/9 in 20 overs, giving away an easy win to the Rising Pune Supergiants. The only difference being the Captain’s performance as it was only Kohli who managed a double digit score of 55 runs in this match while the rest of the 8 batsmen got out for single digit runs, garnering no support to Kohli on the other strike.

From Final (2016) to Disqualification (2017)

From a team which gave tough fight to the defending champions, SRH, in last year’s IPL finale, this season has been disappointing not only for the supporters of the franchise but also for its very own team members. AB De Villiers was noted saying that he not only loves India as a country but also loves playing for the happiness of his Indian fans. AB De Villiers said, “There are a lot of excuses which we can make. But at the end of the day, we just did not play well”. “The best teams don’t always win trophies. Cricket is a funny game, if I were to quote what Zaheer Khan once told me”, AB De Villiers added.

What went wrong- from the horse’s mouth

After the team got bowled out for an embarrassing total of 49, Captain Kohli called the team’s performance as ‘hurtful’. He also said, “As professionals, we are expected to play much better”. “I cannot say anything. This is just not acceptable”, he added. While Virat Kohli has also gone on record to state high expectations, as one of the reasons behind the disappointing performance of RCB, a common RCB fan feels that the team hasn’t been able to perform as a single unit, thereby not providing support to the captain who has been trying to fetch a win for his team.

While some superstitious cricket fans in India feel that the team was jinxed for this IPL season, experts and analysts suggest that the reason behind the sloppy performance could be unsteady team fixtures coupled with injured top class captains and players back to back. Shane Watson, a player who could have helped change the fate of the team had to sadly skip through most of the matches with KL Rahul not getting even a single chance to play, owing to his injury. Even if we give RCB a benefit of doubt, its match with SRH which got washed out could have further lowered the hopes of the members with just 1 point coming under their name. Though RCB’s journey of qualifying for the playoffs has come to a sad end (as they are the first ones to have got disqualified), the team still has some chance of ending on a stronger note by winning the 3 remaining matches against KXIP, KKR and DD on May 5, 7, 15 respectively. Hopefully their performance in these last few matches would make the players gain some confidence for them to start off again next year, thereby, leaving their fans with sweeter memories of RCB in IPL 10 to bank upon until then!