Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Beating Pakistan just isn't the same any more

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For those of us who watched "that shot" Javed Miandad deposited into the crowd off a Chetan Sharma full-toss; these 6 wins in the World Cup, starting in Sydney 1992 against Pakistan are sweet revenge.

You know...I want to feel that way but I don't.

Perhaps that sixer has already been avenged or it may never be. Try as I may, I do not believe India has won a one-day game; a final at that; in quite the fashion Javed Miandad did that day in 1986. May be Sachin's attack on Shoaib Akhtar at Centurion in the 2003 World Cup game comes a little close. Both were true assaults on the psyche of respective fans. But I'd have to get into the mind of a Pakistani cricket fan for a little while to know if those knocks are comparable.

But...I don't think "that shot" needs to be avenged any more....

Recent Indian teams, it seems, have the same attitude and skill that we envied about Pakistani teams of the 80s and 90s. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli are as Pakistani in the way they clinically chase targets or set them up that they could very well be the Javed Miandad, Ijaz Ahmen, Saleem Malik and Aamir Sohail from a generation ago.

But we don't have a Wasim Akram or a Waqar Younis or even an Aqib Javed....so any comparison to those Pakistani teams that traumatized us can only be a superficial search for a non existent symmetry,

Over the years Pakistan cricket has suffered. They no longer field teams like they used to in the 80s and 90s...even early 2000s. For that 2003 Centurion game, Pakistan had fielded a strong team. It meant something when India chased down that formidable total.

Compared to that game, the 2011 and 2015 wins seem facile.

Before the Adelaide game during the current World Cup it seemed this was Pakistan's best chance to finally win one against India. India had not won anything on the long tour and there were some doubts creeping in my mind if the reason for that was a weakness in the team exploited by Australian conditions.

The manner in which the game unfolded however and the meekness of Pakistan's fight makes that initial gut assessment look foolish.

While there is relief that India has won another game and the streak is still in tact, one cannot ignore the feeling of the win being facile. Moreover, recent trend holds no promises of enthralling contests like the ones in Sharjah 1986 and Centurion 2003.

There is no joy in beating Pakistan anymore because it seems to be happening so often these days and its hard to ignore that recent Pakistan teams are like poorly made Bollywood sequels of relatively decent-er originals.

Having witnessed West Indies's demise in its entirety, I fear that Pakistan cricket is headed the same way. The frequency of a new "fast bowling find" has drastically reduced and there is no batsman that has emerged in the last few years that can come even remotely close to the likes of Virat Kohli or Shikhar Dhawan. 

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