It's not without
reason that these games are regarded as the ultimate rivalry in
what was - note the past tense - called the gentleman's game.
An entire stadium was once cleared of fans due to riots, players
have been assaulted on the field and defeats have resulted in security
threats to the cricketers and their families.
The contests have also produced chilling edge-of-the-seat excitement
and tight finishes, like Javed Miandad's last-ball winning six at
Sharjah in 1986 and Pakistan's 12-run win before appreciative Indian
fans at Madras in 1999.
There is rarely a dull moment when India plays Pakistan - on and
off the field.
Pakistani batting legend Hanif Mohammad suffered a cut on his right
hand when he offered to shake hands with a persistent Indian fan
through a train window during the 1960-61 tour.
Unknown to Hanif, the fan had hid a sharp object between his fingers
so that the batsman could miss the next Test at Bombay. Hanif, known
as little master for his batting prowess, not only played the match
but hit a memorable 160.
Millions of Indian hearts sank when the current Pakistani coach
Javed Miandad smashed Chetan Sharma's last delivery for a winning
six in the Australasia Cup final at Sharjah in 1986.
The nightmare still haunts the Indian paceman, who recently said
he was fortunate the fans did not burn or stone houses in those
Pakistani cricketers felt the heat after losing their last three
World Cup matches against India. Allegations of match-fixing and
reports of the legendary Wasim Akram's home in Lahore being stoned
soured three excellent games.
A Test match on Pakistan's last tour of India in 1999 had to be
played before empty galleries at Calcutta's sprawling Eden Gardens
after police forcibly removed some 90,000 spectators following rioting
in the stands.
It was earlier on the same tour that a packed Chepauk ground in
Madras hid their disappointment at India's loss in a Test match
to give the Pakistanis a standing ovation.
"It is moments like this that make a sportsman's day,"
said former fast bowler Wasim, who in recent days has been slammed
by his countrymen for giving tips to India's teenaged paceman Irfan
"Cricket can achieve as much, if not more, as the politicians
in bringing the two countries closer," he said.
The current Indian tour could work magic, but the stifling security
around Sourav Ganguly's team is not without reason.
On India's previous Test tour of Pakistan in 1989, a spectator ran
on to the field in the Karachi Test and lunged at the visiting captain
Krish Srikkanth, tearing off the cricketer's shirt.
When Pakistan played in India in 1987, captain Imran Khan ordered
his team to field in the outfield wearing helmets after stones and
fruit peels were thrown at the players during the Ahmedabad (news
- web sites) Test.
Pakistani batsman Inzamam-ul Haq was once so incensed at an Indian
fan in Toronto for calling him a potato that he leapt at him with
bat in hand before security stepped in to cool tempers.
has since lost weight and is now the captain of Pakistan. Both he
and his Indian counterpart have stressed that any match between
the arch-rivals is like any other game.
is their chance prove it.
22, 1985, Sharjah, UAE
Rothmans Cup match on neutral territory in Sharjah ended in a sensational
38-run win for India. India successfully defended a paltry 125 as
Pakistan stumbled for 87.
18, 1986, Sharjah, UAE
four to win off the last ball, Javed Miandad hit a six over mid-wicket
off Indian seamer Chetan Sharma to pull off a one-wicket win for
Pakistan. Chasing the Indian target of 246, Miandad held the innings
together to remain unbeaten on 116.
25, 1991, Sharjah, UAE
Aqib Javed claimed 7-37, including a hat-trick of leg-befores to
remove Ravi Shastri, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar, to
help his team win by 72 runs in the Champions Trophy. India, who
were forced to bat in near darkness, did not play in Sharjah for
two years in protest.
9, 1996, Bangalore, India
Prasad and Anil Kumble took three wickets apiece to help India win
the World Cup quarter-final by 39 runs. India made 287-8 with Navjot
Sidhu making 93 and Ajay Jadeja 45 off 25 balls. Pakistan stumbled
after a rollicking start to finish on 248-9. Pakistani captain Wasim
Akram, who pulled out of the match at the last moment due to a shoulder
injury, received death threats after the loss and his Lahore home
18, 1998, Dhaka, Bangladesh
chased a then world record of 315 runs to win the best-of-three
Independence Cup final. Centuries from Saeed Anwar and Ijaz Ahmed
in Pakistan's innings were followed by Sourav Ganguly's 124 as India
won in near darkness through a last-over boundary by Hrishikesh
1, 2003, Centurion, South Africa
last time India and Pakistan played each other turned out to be
one of the best matches in World Cup history. A century by Saeed
Anwar gave Pakistan a competitive total of 273-7 in 50 overs, but
Sachin Tendulkar led India to victory by the 46th over with a scintillating
98 that included a six over point off Shoaib Akhtar. It is regarded
as the most memorable shot of the World Cup.