The ICC T20 world cup is still a few days away. The IPL will be kicking off its playoff games in a couple of days and the cricket fans are across the globe are glued into that. The T20 world cup was initially to be hosted by BCCI in India but due to the deadly Covid-19 second wave that gripped the nation, the Board decided to move the tournament to UAE. This has been done with the view to organize a safe and seamless tournament.
The arch-rivals India and Pakistan have been placed in the same group by the ICC to capitalize on broadcasting and television viewings. The most widely anticipated match of the tournament will be this match on October 24. It will be played in Dubai. Ever since cricketing relations came to a halt between these two countries due to political issues, cricket fans look forward to ICC tournaments where they are bound to meet. These matches draw humongous crowds and record earth-shattering TRPs. It will not be any different this time too.
Interestingly, IND-PAK clashes have taken place as many as five times in the previous editions of the T20 World Cup. However, India has emerged victorious on all occasions which showcase Men in Blue’s dominance against their neighboring country.
The Indian team on paper seems incredibly superior and dominant. It would in all likelihood continue the trend of conquering Pakistan ICC world cup events. However, Pakistan is an extremely mercurial team and one cannot discount Pakistan in big tournaments as was evidenced during the 2017 Champions Trophy finals.
With two weeks to still go for the showdown match, mental battles have already begun. Players, ex-players, pundits, and cricket aficionados from both sides have begun to create psychological pressure on the other side. It seems that the Pakistan Cricket Board has officially tipped its hat in the ring.
Recently, they launched the official kits for the Pakistan team that would be worn for the matches. As established practice goes, the name of the host country shall be embossed on the jerseys. In this case, the tournament may be played in UAE but the hosting rights still rest with the BCCI and in effect with India. Therefore, logically the Pakistani kits should have mentioned “India 2021.”
This may be a ploy to create an unnecessary diversion off the field to shift focus from the game and distract Indian preparations. The political issues between India and Pakistan are well known. As part of the same, Pakistan would never give up on a chance to undermine India’s authority in an international forum. The world cup is a brilliant platform for Pakistan to try and one-up India in such frivolous contests. At the end of the day, it would be the match between these two teams that would determine who are the ultimate winners.
It is not yet known if the ICC is going to intervene and ask Pakistan to revise their initial jerseys. The Netherlands, too, unveiled their kits and t explicitly mentioned India on it. Therefore, there remains no doubt that the teams are expected to feature “India” on their jerseys.