India-Pakistan rivalry in cricket has been at the forefront as the sport has evolved over the years, from being played selectively to now spreading its wings all across the globe. India-Pakistan matches have seen some memorable incidents, be it Venkatesh Prasad-Aamir Sohail face-off in the 1996 World Cup, or Harbhajan Singh-Shoaib Akhtar going at each other, or Javed Miandad jumping flustered by Kiran More, or even going to the extreme of a verbal spat between Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi.
The two teams have also been known for producing some top-quality cricket, being at the heart of some of the most nail-biting of contests from 2007 group stage contest which was decided to a bowl-out, to T20I World Cup final, and the 2017 Champions Trophy fina.
The rivalry on field has lived up to the hype, even though the rivalry off it has reached extreme levels, leading to strained relationships between the two, which has seen bilateral ties being cut. India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2012, and it has been just down to ICC tournaments from there on.
Shoaib Malik, the veteran Pakistan allrounder in a recent interview stressed on the importance of getting India-Pakistan to play each other and resume bilateral series between the two. “I think the world badly needs this rivalry to resume, in the same way that world cricket needs the Ashes,” Malik told PakPassion.net.
“Could England and Australia imagine Test cricket without an Ashes series? Both series are played with the same kind of passion and have such a great history, so it is a shame that we don’t play right now,” he added.
“Also, I have Pakistani friends who love to talk about Indian cricketers with respect and admiration. Similarly, I and my Pakistan team-mates are given such love and support when we play in India so it is a rivalry that I would like to see return as soon as it is possible,” the cricketer further said.
Recalling his favourite memories of playing against India, Malik further added: “From a personal point of view the 2009 Champions Trophy match at Centurion when I was Man of the Match after scoring 128 and the Asia Cup match in Sri Lanka in 2004 where I scored 143 from 127 balls and took the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh are great memories.”
“But I also enjoyed the one-off ODI in Kolkata in 2004 when we chased 293 to win. It was a day before Eid and the atmosphere inside Eden Gardens in that floodlit match was incredible,” he added.