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Sunday, June 16, 2019

India - Pakistan encounter at Old Trafford 2019

What the weather is going to be like in Manchester during the marquee India vs Pakistan clash at the World Cup has been one of the biggest talking points in the build-up to the game ! Of the 12 editions of World Cup – India and Pak did not play each other in 1975, 1979, 1983, 1987 & 2007 .. .. they met in 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2011 & 2015 – with identical results – in every game (other than 2003) India batted first, amassed runs and beat Pakis easily.  In 2003, Pak batted first but was beaten badly .. ..

It has been a wet campaign this time -  with several matches at the tournament already rained out, fans of both teams would be hoping that the match remains unaffected by rain.   Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar  said ECB’s lack of preparation for rain is “totally unacceptable” and ICC should punish the hosts if the much-anticipated India vs Pakistan World Cup match in Manchester is washed out on Sunday.  Three matches so far have been abandoned without a ball being a bowled, including India’s last match against New Zealand, while one game had no result, the most in any World Cup so far and there are predictions that rain may play spoilsport again at Old Trafford on Sunday.

If one were to ask – ‘what will happen if today’s match is washed out ?’ – I would say – nothing, sky would not exactly come crashing down ! – it is a match, I have been advocating that India should boycott playing against hostile Nation, which has openly incited terrorism against the Nation.  That way, today, I would not post anything on today’s match !!

Sky came not crash but Star could fall !!  .. .. Star India -- the official broadcaster of the ICC Cricket World Cup --  is fearing  huge losses on the advertising front due to these washouts. If the India-Pakistan match is hit by the bad weather, the loss will escalate.  Advertisers who have spent significant amount of money for campaigns and advertisements during Cricket’s flagship event, are now looking at a no-show for a lot of matches. This is costing them as the advertising rates for the ongoing World Cup matches were as high as Rs 15-20 lakh for a 10 second slot.  Money Control reports that sponsorship package for matches during the World Cup costs around Rs 40 crore on television and Rs 15 crore on digital. For India-Pakistan match, the advertising rates went up to Rs 22 lakh for a 10-second slot. The match is expected to generate over Rs 120 crore. With such investments riding on World Cup matches, advertisers are unhappy with the way things have been arranged. A better management or scheduling of the tournament in July are few suggestions by the disappointed brands.

If reserve days come into play, the World Cup will get extended for another month, which would lead to a logistical nightmare. Accommodation, travel expenses, venue availability and broadcast logistics, everything will go for a toss. However, most importantly, cricket fans will lose out the most as they have been traveling to watch their favourite teams and players play.  Anyway, ECB should have known their weather conditions and should have planned better !!

Must we succumb to building this game up beyond the point of hyperbole?  Indo-Pak encounters despite hypes ‘maukha, mocha – and the Cup’ – have always been one-sided in favour of India.  Apart from the hyped rivalry there is not much at stake.   Still this is the most  anticipated game of the tournament when the fixtures were announced  Steve Elworthy revealing that the ICC had had 400,000 applications for tickets, and that they "could have packed out Wembley four times over"  ~ and that is the reason this is held on a Sunday while the hosts played on Saturday.

Lancashire County Cricket Club was founded  in 1864 as a successor to Manchester Cricket Club, Lancashire have played at Old Trafford since then and, in 1865, played their inaugural first-class match, beating Middlesex at Old Trafford. Cyril Washbrook became Lancashire’s first professional captain in 1954.  Our own Farokh Engineer, the flamboyant keeper and opener played alongside Clive Lloyd between 1968-76.  Years later, the left-arm spinner Murali Karthik too played for this club.  The immediate reference of modern times of this place would of course be – ‘Manchester United Football Club’ the professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester; founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club and changed name to Manchester United in 1902.

Old Trafford is England's second oldest test venue and one of the most renowned. It was the venue for the first ever Ashes test to be held in England in July 1884 and has hosted two Cricket World Cup semi-finals. In 1956, the first 10-wicket haul in a single innings was achieved by England bowler Jim Laker who achieved bowling figures of 19 wickets for 90 run.  It was here in the 1983 Semis, England were tied by the bowling of Kirti Azad and Mohinder whose 24 overs cost only 55 runs.  It was at Manchester in 1982 that Sandeep Patil famously moved from 80 to 104 in a single over of Bob Willis (6 fours struck in that 7 ball over !)  The ground is in the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester situate in North West England, comprising ten metropolitan boroughs that include the cities of Manchester and Salford. It is landlocked and borders Cheshire; Derbyshire; Yorkshire and Merseyside.   

This place attracted industrialisation in the 19th century when the region flourished as the global centre of the cotton industry. The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium.  Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution; the building of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761 built to transport coal triggered an early-19th-century factory building boom which transformed Manchester from a township into a major mill town. Manchester's fortunes decreased after the Second World War; however investment spurred by the 1996 Manchester bombing led to extensive regeneration, particularly in the city centre. Manchester was the site of the world's first railway station and is where scientists first split the atom, and developed the first stored-program computer. Cottonopolis denotes a metropolis centred on cotton trading servicing the cotton mills in its hinterland. It was inspired by Manchester which has become a sobriquet applied solely to the city of Manchester. Have read that Matka gambling flourished in India – a wager  on random numbers and that was on closing /opening prices of wholesale cotton traded on Bombay Cotton Exchange……  

Here is something on Indo-Pak World Cup encounters starting from the lastest one !
In 2015 at Adelaide,  India 300 for 7 (Kohli 107, Raina 74, Dhawan 73, Sohail 5-55) beat Pakistan224 (Misbah 76, Shehzad 47, Shami 4-35) by 76 runs.   A Virat Kohlihundred and supporting hands from Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina lifted India to 300 for 7, and the task of claiming victory proved beyond Pakistan for the sixth time out of six in this most intense of World Cup fixtures.

In 2011, India played Pak at Chandigarh – when Nation came to a screeching halt !  - that win enabled India move onto Semis at Mohali.  Sachin played a sedate knock to take India to 260 which was good enough for a comfortable win.   India 260 for 9 (Tendulkar 85, Riaz 5-46) beat Pakistan 231 (Misbah 56) by 29 runs.  In 2007 at West Indies, both the teams crashed out at the first round rather unceremoniously.  In 2003 at Centurion, Pak set up a big score aided by a ton by Saeed Anwar  and came the grand opening partnership of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar and some solid batting in the middle.   In Jun 1999 at the same venue, Manchester,  Venkatesh Prasad shone with the ball.  India made 227/6 – Rahul Dravid & Azharuddin making half centuries.  Prasad took 5/27.  In 1996 at Bengaluru, remembered for Aamer Sohail, Prasad showdown – India batting first made 287/8 – Sidhu made 93 while Ajay Jadeja breezed with 45 off 25 belting all Paki bowlers.   Pak culd muster only 248.  In that  high voltage game, when Wasim Akram pulled out there was criticism. 

In 1992 Sydney, India won – but fared not so well in the cup, while Pakis despite initial losses, somehow qualified and went to win the cup.  India made 216/7 with Ajay Jadeja 46 & Sachin Tendulkar 54 – India bundled Pakis for 173.  So another match, another win for India, if rains allows game.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
16th June 2019.

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