India and Pakistan will face each other in Asia Cup on 19th September in Dubai after a long gap. In this perspective, my memory suddenly took me back to 1980. Though ’38’ is not too small a number, I still remember and visualize clearly the spontaneous reaction of the packed Eden Gardens, Kolkata giving standing ovation to Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal while bidding him farewell. Fortunately I was also one of them. Asif’s decision of playing his last test match at Eden Gardens was fantastic since such sporting crowd like Kolkata was an asset to any ground and the game of cricket too.
Besides Asif, this subcontinent had produced and witnessed the brilliance of a number of illustrious cricketers such as Sunil Gavaskar, Imran Khan, Vijay Hazare, Fazal Mahmood, Vinoo Mankad, Hanif Mohammad, Sachin Tendulkar, Javed Miandad, Kapil Dev, Wasim Akram, Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Abbas, Saurav Ganguly, Abdul Qadir, Virender Sehwag, Mushtaq Mohammad, Anil Kumble, Ramiz Raja, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Saeed Anwar, Virat Kohli and many more. There has been lot of very exciting matches between these two countries. We cannot forget Sachin Tendulkar’s brilliant 118 against Pakistan at Sharjah in 1996 in an ODI. India crossed the 300 runs mark for the first time in ODIs. We also remember Javed Miandad’s historic last ball big six against India in 1986 when 4 runs were required to win.
Cricket lovers of both the countries are eagerly waiting to watch more such innings. In fact, we are ready to walk hundred of miles to witness such exciting matches in future also.
Asish Chattopadhyay, 31 School Road, Purba Putiary, Kolkata 700093.