NEW DELHI: A long-running rivalry on and off the field has once again divided India and Pakistan at the World Cup, but a cricketing display run by Pakistan’s greats has won over fans across the border.
Featuring cricket heroes turned broadcasters like Wasim Akram, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq and Moin Khan, the Pavilion received critical acclaim in India for its unbiased and engaging commentary from fans.
“They offer cutting-edge, cutting-edge analysis,” said Shubhanan Nair, 32, of the southern Indian city of Bangalore, who said watching the show online had become part of his “daily ritual.”
“They will talk about what went wrong with each team, including their own… They will also appreciate which team did well.”
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Neighbors India and Pakistan share deep cultural and linguistic ties but their histories are filled with violence and bloodshed.
The two nuclear-armed countries have fought three wars since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.
“If it’s black, we call it black, if it’s white, we call it white,” said presenter and Pakistani legend Wasim Akram. AFP.
“Speak your own opinion but it should not be personal, everything should be professional and positive.”
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Launched for the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE, the show was watched by figures of around 130 million across all platforms leading up to the one-day World Cup opening in India last month.
The numbers have now “almost doubled”, Akram said.
“We’re just four to five people talking, there’s no science… it’s a lot of hard work,” he said.
“But it’s a lot of fun to sit together, enjoy each other’s company, and I think that’s what people see.”
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‘With love from India’
Akram said he was happy that the series was reaching a wider audience and admitted that he was surprised by its popularity across borders.
“We respect each other, we joke around, we enjoy each other’s company… if our show can tell people that at the end of the day it’s just a game, that’s great.
“If you are Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, everyone is patriotic about their country,” he added.
“Let’s leave it at that and talk about kindness, treating each other well, respecting each other in this age.
“If our show is having that impact, then we’re very happy.”
Hosts India, who will compete against Australia in Sunday’s final, beat Pakistan in their only match against each other in this World Cup.
The clash took place in front of a partisan crowd after Pakistani fans failed to obtain visas from Indian authorities.
Any match between rivals is a match watched by millions around the world and is a win for broadcasters and sponsors.
However, Pakistan was eliminated from the World Cup on Saturday and failed to reach the semi-finals with five defeats and four wins.
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“In this World Cup, Pakistan will be best remembered for The Pavilion on A Sports,” fan Abhishek Mukherjee wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
Comments below the show on its YouTube channel show how one sport can bring other competitors together.
One said: “I wish we had a show like this in India… Love from India.”
Another observer from Pakistan also responded and wished India success in the final.
“I really hope India wins this World Cup… Love from Lahore,” wrote a user named izzkii.
news source (www.brecorder.com)