From underdogs to champions

Arrogance is not good. The lesson that this match offers to all fans across India and Pakistan

Auqib Salam
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 20 2017 12:30AM | Updated Date: Jun 20 2017 12:30AM
From underdogs to championsFile Photo

Few days back when Pakistan was yet to take on their arch-rival India in ICC champion’s trophy, I almost fought with my sister. My mother passed a fatwa against her for criticizing Pakistan for their poor cricketing sense. Mother called her unwise for not recognizing Pakistan’s great comeback in the champion’s trophy by overpowering some world class sides like South Africa and the host England. Her criticism was genuine given the poor show of Pakistan against India, their poor ICC ODI ranking and the fact that they had barely qualified for the Champion’s trophy some time back by coming on eighth place of cricket ODI rankings. Pakistan had become a favorite whipping horse after their poor performance against India at the launch of the Champion’s trophy. Netizens took to social media both pre and post match to first ridicule and later praise team Pakistan. I am not myself a die-hard fan of cricket, but when it comes to Indo-Pak match who would not be a die-hard fan. Every second man turns a cricket specialist during the same, it has mostly to do with our politics here in Kashmir and everyone inside and outside of Kashmir knows this fact. 

For a Pakistani fan, it was sad to see Indian fans ridiculing and insulting underdog Pakistan even before the final contest. Many Indian fans got so carried away that they started posting victory tweets on social media days before final match at The Oval. One of the twitter users wrote “Congratulations Team India on winning fifth ICC Champions Trophy”. Cricket legends and celebs jumped in with arrogance predicting that India will thrash Pakistan in the finals. 

Bollywood stars like Reshi Kapoor got carried away, the Bollywood star mocked poor English of Pakistani players in one of his posts on micro blogging site, as if English had to do something with cricketing talent. In another tweet while mixing politics with cricket and accusing Pakistan of terrorism he tweeted, “tum log Jeeton aur Hazaar baar jeeton sirf terrorism band kar do yaar”. 

I failed to understand how terrorism can be related to one race or nation and mixed with the game of cricket? It was unfortunate that such remarks were coming from seasoned celebs of India. The arrogance of Indian fans including big celebs made Pakistan fans crave for Pakistan’s win even more, so that fans of Pakistan and suchlike can have a go at Indian fans and avenge this arrogance and rudeness. Humility was nowhere to be seen in Indian fans, hyper nationalistic news anchors, celebs and even politicians jumped in the premature carnival of celebrating India and ridiculing Pakistan. Such was the overconfidence of Indian cricket experts that they even underestimated world class bowling attack of Pakistan which world admits, despite outstanding performance by Pakistan with ball, cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar went on saying that Indian bowling attack is better than Pakistan and India will outshine them in bowling too, many Indian cricket legends foretold an easy win of India over Pakistan. Praising one's nation is no wrong but ridiculing others is ungentlemanly. 

I don’t need to go in the details of what happened in Oval on 18th June as it has engraved into the hearts and minds of each cricket fan across India and Pakistan. Underdog Pakistan stunned the cricket loving nation of India, Pakistan thrashed India by a huge margin of 180 runs to win ICC champions trophy. Soon after victory of arch-rival Pakistan over India, there was a pin drop silence in hyper nationalistic Indian news channels and on the Indian side of social media. Those who were overconfident about Indian victory and underestimating Pakistan’s cricket team were absconding from social media now, wishes and praises for Pakistan started to pour in from cricket legends around the world for spanking India in final. It was very ironic to see how a cricket crazy nation of 1.2 billion started to pretend that they love hockey more than anything. They suddenly remembered hockey as their national game while the arch-rivals were simultaneously taking on each other in hockey in London. Many celebrities and cricket legends including Sachin Tendulkar started tweeting about hockey match of India as if nothing was happening on cricket ground. 

Many cricket celebs that were mocking and underestimating Pakistan earlier praised and congratulated them for emerging victorious, Bollywood star Reshi Kapoor who earlier mocked Pakistan cricket team wished and praised Pakistan team on their victory, as the veteran actor in a post on micro blogging site wrote “Yes Pakistan, you have defeated us. Well played, outplayed us in all departments. Many congratulations, I conceded. Best wishes.”  Soon many other stars like Harbhajan Singh, Sehwag queued in to wish team Pakistan. Other than being a memorable victory for Pakistan fans, this contest taught a lesson of humility to many arrogant fans and cricket stars in India who underestimated Pakistan and also taught them being humble pays off and that no team is invincible. This great cricketing contest will stay fresh in our hearts for many years to come. 


(Auqib Salam is a student of Mass communication at Media Education Research Centre, University of Kashmir)