How did the Pakistan-Afghanistan cricket match turn into ‘Takre’?

How did the Pakistan-Afghanistan cricket match turn into ‘Takre’? So what was the reason why PCB had to request ICC not to hold the match with Afghanistan in Chennai before the announcement of the World Cup schedule and to play Pakistan’s match with the Afghanistan team, which is ranked several places below Pakistan ‘How did I change?

It has now become a tradition to run programs called ‘Takra’ on Pakistani and Indian TV channels a day before the Pakistan-India match.

It is actually a dull attempt to play the war drum before the match to warm the blood of the fans of both countries.

If you look at the matches between India and Pakistan in the last decade, only Eka Dakka has been able to justify the hard work that is done on the media before these matches.

In the same period, there is another such ‘Takra’ which has made its place in the blink of an eye. This Pakistan vs Afghanistan match has become like a thrilling action movie which is getting more interesting with every passing year.

Whenever the two teams have played in major tournaments, Pakistan has returned victorious, but these victories have been achieved by coming very close to defeat.

The uneasiness of Pakistani fans is usually evident before these matches, which is when the ICC rankings and statistics don’t make much sense.

For example, Pakistan is ranked second in the ODI rankings and Afghanistan is ninth, and Pakistan has never been defeated by Afghanistan in ODI cricket to date.

Be it the group match of the 2019 ODI World Cup, the Super Four stage match of the 2022 Asia Cup, or the group match of the 2021 T20 World Cup, all of them had reached a point where defeat seemed certain.

However, sometimes Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz, sometimes Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali, and sometimes Naseem Shah were able to get Pakistan out of this situation.

This time the Pakistan-Afghanistan match came under the spotlight several months before the World Cup when the PCB made an unusual request to change its schedule.

The match is notorious for the incidents inside the ground as well as for the off-field brawls and social media trends.

This World Cup match is going to be held in an environment where Pakistan has given a deadline of October 31 to the Afghan refugees living in the country to leave the country.

A common perception in the country is that Afghanistan is allegedly responsible for Pakistan’s security situation and even the economic crisis, especially the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar.

In this article, we try to find out what was the reason why PCB had to request the ICC not to hold the match against Afghanistan in Chennai before the announcement of the World Cup schedule, which is ranked several places below Pakistan. When and how did Pakistan’s match with the Afghanistan team turn into a ‘confrontation’?

Why Pakistan did not want to play Afghanistan in Chennai?

When the World Cup schedule was announced by the ICC in June, a few days before that, an article published on the cricket analysis and commentary website Cricinfo made major revelations regarding Pakistan’s schedule. were

The article claimed that Pakistan had requested the ICC to change the schedule of matches against Australia and Afghanistan, which would make them ‘favorites’ in both matches.

The general impression from the leaked PCB-ICC talks is that Pakistan is afraid of playing Afghanistan in Chennai because the Chennai pitch is considered to be favorable for spinners and the Afghan spinners, who during the IPL have been showing excellent bowling and can take full advantage of it and make it difficult for the Pakistani batsmen.

It should be noted that in March this year, Afghanistan defeated Pakistan 2-1 in the T20 series played in Sharjah. During these matches, Pakistan had given their senior players a chance to rest, but in these conditions that helped the spinners, the Afghan bowlers were significantly dominant.

In this regard, the then spokesperson of PCB, Sami-ul-Hasan Birni, while talking to BBC, said that ‘before the ICC releases the schedule, it is sent to the cricket boards and all the boards have their opinion on it. and usually, the ICC changes the schedule or ground only for security reasons.’

“Our discussion with the ICC was leaked which gave a wrong impression that should not have happened,” he said.

If Pakistan’s batting is reviewed, then captain Babar Azam has been hesitant especially in front of the spinners for the past few years and he was dismissed by the spinners in the match against Australia and Netherlands in this World Cup.

Similarly, Iftikhar Ahmed also does not look confident against spinners, especially leg spinners. Apart from this, Afghan spinners have also performed well in the past while defending small totals against Pakistan.

It should be noted that Pakistan will play its match today on the same pitch on which the match between Australia and India was played on October 8 and the Australian team could score only 199 runs while batting first.

How did the Pakistan-Afghanistan match turn into ‘Takre’?

In the late 80s, Afghanistan became a decisive battleground between the two superpowers of the time, the United States and the Soviet Union, during that time, according to the United Nations, around 3 million Afghan refugees moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

According to most people who have written the history of Afghan cricket, the foundation of cricket in Afghanistan was laid in these refugee camps.

Over time, when the cricket structure in Afghanistan started to improve, several coaches from Pakistan coached the Afghan team, including Kabir Khan and Inzamam-ul-Haq.

However, then some BCCI and India’s keen interest in Afghan cricket and the 31 May 2017 Kabul blasts changed the relationship between the Pakistan and Afghanistan boards forever.

How the blast affected the cricketing relationship between the two countries is further detailed in this column by cricket analyst Sami Chaudhry, an excerpt of which reads:

It is still not clear who was behind the Kabul blast, but it is a fact that just as the Mumbai attacks changed the direction of Pakistan-India relations, the Kabul blast also changed the direction of Pakistan-Afghan cricket relations.

Afghan cricket, which has always been suffocated by PCB’s favors, reached the level of bilateral rivalry that Pakistan-India cricket had to travel decades to reach.

When the two teams then faced each other in the 2019 World Cup, after losing the match, there was a scuffle between the spectators, the videos of which went viral on social media and the ICC took notice of it.

Since then, whenever there is a match between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the situation is likely to be tense on the ground or outside the ground.

Similarly, after Afghanistan’s defeat by India on social media, Afghan players have been honored with various titles in the trends in Pakistan.

The same thing happened in the 2021 T20 World Cup. Just a few months earlier, the Taliban had regained control in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s then ISI chief General Faiz Hameed was seen visiting Kabul at the same time.

After the Taliban took control of the country, thousands of Afghan citizens had to leave the country and Pakistan’s role in this situation has been highly criticized by anti-Taliban people.

Journalist and writer Muhammad Hanif, in his column written for BBC Urdu, asked, “What do we want now?” Afghanistan also defeated India. Earlier, it was hoped by the Mujahideen that after liberating their country from the Taliban, they would liberate us from Kashmir.

However, the situation on the cricket field took a long time in the year 2022 when Asif Ali and Afghan bowler Fareed Ahmed got into a fight during a match of the Asia Cup.

In this match, Afghanistan scored 129 runs in the allotted 20 overs while batting first. In response to Pakistan’s 119 runs, nine players returned to the pavilion at the end of the 19th over. The ninth wicket fell to Asif Ali and when Farid Ahmed celebrated after dismissing him, the matter reached a bitter end.

After that two memorable sixes were hit by Naseem Shah and Pakistan managed to win this match by one wicket in the last over. Even after this match, the video of Afghan spectators throwing chairs at the Sharjah Cricket Ground went viral on social media, after which action was taken by the administration in Sharjah.

The same situation was seen in the second ODI of the recent Pakistan-Afghanistan series when Pakistan needed 10 runs in the last over and Shadab Khan was run out by Fazalul Haq Farooqui at the non-striker’s end.

In such a situation, once again Naseem Shah made Pakistan victorious. Today, Pakistan will not have the services of Naseem Shah as he was ruled out of the World Cup due to an injury sustained in the Asia Cup.

In this World Cup, after winning two matches in a row, Pakistan has lost the next two matches against India and Australia and it is very important for them to win this match.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, has beaten the defending champions England and faces Pakistan on a favorable pitch and hopefully, another thrilling encounter awaits the fans.

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