Alfred Hitchcock once said, “There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it”.
Alfred Hitchcock had never witnessed the anticipation or the bang of an Indo-Pak cricket match. A match that lasts approx 8-hours, is played between 22 players but directly or indirectly affects nearly 1/6th of the human population. The government of Pakistan declared a half-day holiday. The government of Sindh declared a full-day holiday. The Indian parliament shut shop at 2:00 pm. Apparently, decisions involving the future of more than 1 Billion people could wait. More Indian visas were issued to Pakistanis in 48 hours than are issued in a month. The world’s second fastest growing economy pushed back the end of its financial year by a day.
And then it was suddenly all over.
180 Million People had their lips sealed but their heads still held high. Another 1 Billion had their chests puffed out and heads held higher.
A small library can be filled up with all the various articles written and News segments played in anticipation of the match. A smaller section of the same library can be filled up with the articles that will be written after the match. But nothing or no one can change, what all knew would happen. One would win and one would loose. And in 5 attempts, this is probably the closest Pakistan got to defeating India in an ODI World Cup match. This was Pakistan’s best. And Pakistan’s best wasn’t good enough.
Was it Sehwag’s initial fury or was it Gul’s wayward slinging. Was it those dropped catches or was it the lack of attacking field settings. Was it the non-existent partnerships or was it the disciplined Indian bowling. Was it the slackness of the middle order or was it….just not meant to be…not now.
TVs have been smashed, Questions will be asked. Tears have been shed, Controversies will rise. Hearts have been broken, Heads may fall.
But the match was clean. No drugs taken, No teammates beaten, No no-balls fixed and No balls chewed. The stares were there but the shoves were absent. The chatter was there but the sledge wasn’t.
Indians will remind you 5 – 0.
Pakistanis will look to 2015.