What I saw at the Pakistan vs India match in Adelaide

Published: February 17, 2015
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Indian players hug Mohammad Shami after the dismissal of Pakistan's batsman Wahab Riaz (R), caught by wicket keeper Mahendra Dhoni (2nd R) during their Cricket World Cup match in Adelaide, February 15, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: WAHAB TARIQ BUTT Indian players hug Mohammad Shami after the dismissal of Pakistan's batsman Wahab Riaz (R), caught by wicket keeper Mahendra Dhoni (2nd R) during their Cricket World Cup match in Adelaide, February 15, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

I didn’t sleep last Saturday night. Call it excitement, anticipation of victory or simple enthusiasm; words just cannot describe what I felt that night. I had reached Adelaide the day before, after boarding a 12-hour-long flight, and even though the exhaustion was formidable, anyone on Hindley Street on the night of February 14, 2015, will tell you that it was worth it.

Picture the eve before Eid if you are a Muslim, Diwali if you are a Hindu or Christmas if you are a Christian, and multiply the excitement by 10 times – that’s the level of exhilaration I felt that night. The zeal in Adelaide amongst cricket fans in general and Pakistani and Indian fans in particular, and the festive mood that night was more than what you could’ve imagined.

It seemed as if people were dazzled by the anticipation of the match and had completely forgotten whatever else was happening in their lives.

Local residents were amazed by the sudden hustle and bustle. Those who followed cricket knew why their city was flooded with desis: the February 15th match was too crucial for South Asians to miss. All hotels and restaurants were packed with desi people and Adelaide residents seemed like tourists while walking on their own streets.

The night went by and the big day soon arrived. The gates to the stadium were supposed to open at 12:30pm but I, along with some friends, was already there around 10am (4:30am PST). We couldn’t wait to start our supposedly happy, jinx-breaking day. And as it turned out, we weren’t the only ones who were excited enough to reach there early, despite the hot weather. Adelaide stadium and its surrounding areas were full of men and women in green and blue, all ready with to wave their flags in the South Australian breeze and to chant slogans supporting their countries at the top of their lungs.

The DJ, who was managing the music outside the stadium, was mostly playing Indian songs. This was noticed by many Pakistanis and I thought it was utterly unfair, since Paksitanis too have a wide variety of World Cup songs that could have been played there. The only time he played Pakistani songs was when the Pakistani fans complained to him.

We entered the stadium at 12:30pm, in our Pakistani jerseys and green painted faces. The stadium quickly filled to its capacity. By this time, it had become evident to us that the Indian crowd was going to be much larger in number than the Pakistani crowd. However, even with this, Pakistani fans were able to match the Indians with their zealous chants, their supportive slogans and their “Pakistan Zindabad!” and “Jeetay ga bhai jeetay ga, Pakistan jeetay ga” jingles.

Everyone saw how the match went about – what were the passionate highs and the awful lows. The last 20 overs, in particular, were torturous and I think I died a little towards the end. Anyone who saw the match on television would know why. By the end of the day, I had seen Pakistani women and children crying, disappointed Pakistani fans leaving the stadium before the match was officially over and Indians chanting the slogan “too roo ra ra, Pakistan phir se haara”.

But nevertheless, it was all worth it. The experience was one that I shall cherish throughout and I look forward to seeing Pakistan play against West Indies on Saturday.

I believe that despite this major setback, Pakistani fans will keep supporting their team throughout the World Cup and will keep chanting the phrase

Tum jeeto ya haro, hume tumse pyar hai

Par agar jeeto to zyada pyar hai”

(Whether you lose or win, we will always love you)

(But we will love you more if you win).

Wahab Tariq Butt

Wahab Tariq Butt

A news reporter in Hong Kong. HIs interests include current affairs, politics and social affairs. He tweets @wahabtariqbutt (twitter.com/wahabtariqbutt)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Karachiwala

    Good write wahab, but i cannot wish anything further from this Team.
    My Prediction> This Team will come back without a single win in this tournament.
    Why? Because the team is utterly oppposite to what is called merit.
    Its all about Punjab in the team. even PCB has been abbreviated to Punjab Cricket Board.
    While the north produce the bowlers, south always gave batsman. Not anymore.
    Now they just keep it to North.
    We were good in bowling, but since merit has eroded away…bowling too has suffered massively.
    I have zero faith in this team!Recommend

  • salman

    Enjoy the rest of your trip, and don’t take it too seriously. It is just a game.
    I was at Lords for 99 final, when Pak got mauled by Aus. Nothing could be worse then that!Recommend

  • Hasan

    I would like to share what i witnessed as well.

    Firstly, the better team won. Pakistan did not bat well, even though it was a flat pitch and even after restricting India to 300, we couldn’t give them a good fight due to our mistakes. The batting order didn’t make sense at all.

    Secondly, Indians were large in number at the stadium. They out numbered us easily by 80:20 percent ratio. Pakistan team did not have enough support from the fans at the ground as we needed more fans to cheer for the team. Which was sad to see. But still we supported them and lost our voices by chanting as loud as we could.

    And Thirdly, the Adelaide oval’s management team were biased. They portrayed themselves to be supporters of the neighbouring country’s team. One proof of such an act that could be highlighted was, that all the songs which were being played, were Indian songs and were only being played for the Indian team. Songs for the Pakistani team were only played 3-4 times during the whole match. Another example was that, the screens inside the stadium were only for India. How so? It displayed twice during India’s batting innings and once while they were bowling asking the fans to chant ” Jeetay ga re jeetay ga India jeetay ga!” Really? We Pakistani’s were hoping to see something from them to show on the screen relating to us too. This brought our faith and support for our team down the drain. We got angry. How would Australian fans feel, as they play against England, in some other country and the ground screen only shows England fans to chant” England England England !” ? Even the advertisement boards read things relating to India winning. I never saw anything like this even when I went to watch the warm up match of Australia Vs. India. Why target Pakistan? Letting them stay in Adelaide for all the warm up matches so that they can get used to the conditions in Adelaide, while Pakistani team goes around to different cities and have their warm ups? That is totally unfair to us Pakistani fans who were few in number but made an effort by traveling miles and miles just to watch this one game. Do you really expect us to show up again for any other event relating to our country? I doubt it.

    Lastly, the Indian fans were still really comforting towards us and didn’t show any hostility which was much appreciated by most of us, Pakistanis.

    We fans were having a great time till all this happened. It was sad and Adelaide Oval owes us Pakistani fans an apology. I, including, most others were disgusted by this biased display by the ‪‎Adelaide Oval‬ and the whole event management team.Recommend

  • sattar rind

    Its simple nonsense. This way one could not be able to enjoy play Recommend

  • Atif Magray

    I don’t know who are you but for all this discussion i have only one sentence that Pakistan always lose against india because of political pressure…
    Recommend

  • Ahmed Ata Khan

    AgreedRecommend

  • http://www.defence.pk/ Agnostic Muslim

    Are there any bowlers or batsmen of note (save Fawad Alam, who I would be the first to agree has been treated horribly) that were not included in the team? The sad reality may be that the visible talent on the Pakistani domestic circuit is pretty thin.

    The major issues here are structural, in terms of making a career in the top and middle tier domestic teams a relatively profitable career (even without international selection) and improving the cricket infrastructure and organization at the school and college level to allow talent to develop and feed into the professional domestic cricket teams more consistently.Recommend

  • Oats

    You have your own petty axe to grind. It’s not about the mix of native Pakistanis (Punjabi / Pashtuns) or Indian migrants from Karachi which will produce a win. No one I know sees this team as Punjab centric or KPK centric. Whether you like it or not the majority of Pakistani people come from those provinces. Our team did poorly because of bad strategy and discipline. They are talented but need better focus. They need support but need to do better!Recommend

  • Truthful

    This article is SO useless. ET really needs better bloggers.Recommend

  • Indus to Oxus

    you clearly do not even live in Pakistan or understand the cricket team at all.

    How is this team or board all about Punjab?
    The captain Misbah-ul-haq is a Pashtun from Mianwali, the chairman of the PCB Shehryar Khan is an Urdu-speaker originally from Bhopal and the chief selector Moin Khan is an Urdu-speaker from Karachi

    Then there’s Shahid Afridi and Younus Khan, both Pashtuns living in Karachi, and there’s also Sohail Khan who’s from Peshawar and Ahmed Shehzad who is of a Pashtun background from Lahore.

    The main wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed is an Urdu-speaker from Karachi, so I don’t understand what you’re complaining about?Punjab has almost 60% of the population of Pakistan so they will obviously dominate, but proportionally they aren’t over represented.

    Whether the team is full of 11 Punjabis,Burushos or Makranis, we’re all Pakistanis and should be back the team

    I’m also a Karachiite and I find your comment is very gratuitous,unsubstantiated and racist.

    PS the way you say “north” clearly proves that you’re not from here, nobody in Karachi calls Punjab north, we refer to KPK and GilgitBaltistan as north, Punjab is central Pakistan.Recommend

  • Prad

    You are very fortunate to be there.
    I’m Indian and live in the UK, I had better things to do then watch tv for 8 hours but I listened to my hero Geoffrey Boycott on the radio. He or his co-commentators said it looked like the stadium was 90% blue, but the greens were as lively and raucous as the blues :-)

    It’s only a game, enjoy the tournament and good luck.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Punjab are you serious? Misbah, Afridi, Younas, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohail and many others in overall team not from Punjab… head selector not from Punjab… even current PCB chairman not from Punjab… I think issue is the decline in cricket over all due to isolation after Srilanka incident, corruptions, Indian local player get 400K per domestic match and Pak domestic gets roughly 1.5 Lakh for the whole season…. and the list goes on…Recommend

  • jssidhoo

    What you did not see was that the the ICC , Cricket Australia , Star Sports etc made a lot of money in this will it be 5-1 or 6-0 story .We are two countries that house some of the poorest people in the world , rather than trying to alleviate this poverty we will devote our energy on 5-1 or 6-0, fighting 4 wars, spending on an arms race and fighting in a pub in Australia. When will we grow up and tackle the real issues .Recommend

  • Unnamed

    Though i wouldnt call the team ‘Punjab Only’ as there r players from Karachi and KPK tooRecommend

  • Sports buff

    I totally agree with you. The day the policy makers of PCB become loyal to their country, and may Allah give them some doses of intelligence, that will be start of an amazing period of fabulous sporting era. Insha Allah.Recommend

  • D.

    yeah right… Moen khan is from Punjab as well right….mate its the merit … nothing to do with north or south… jay ho merit-less-ness kiRecommend

  • wb

    Exactly.Recommend

  • Sameer Ahmed

    Moin Khan is not Punjabi bro, he’s a mahajir.Recommend

  • EthicalGuy

    The advertising boards are paid for…!!! So if Indian companies paid for it, obviously their advertising would be shown on them….If Pakistani companies paid for the boards, then their advertising would have been shown there…simple!

    Also, if the overall crowd is predominantly Indian (Adelaide was supposed to be India’s home city during the world cup as well), then obviously all the songs/advertising etc would be tilted towards India..!Recommend

  • Harjit Singh Dhanoa

    Mr Butt did not see cricket it seems as he does not mention the game.
    BTW I didn’t see it here in London as India Pakistan do not play cricket any more, it is something else I do not the name of!Recommend

  • Reddy

    what kinda blabber is that,it’s fair enough that you don’t want to see arms race between these two countries,but asking people not to watch cricket cuz ICC,CA,Star sports making money or not to get passionate or have public brawls over a sport …cricket is an emotional sport in subcontinent, i would rather want indians and pakistanis involved in a public brawl or pub fights over cricket then get involved in terrorism and hindu vs muslim slugfest…we sucked the blood out of every pakistani in NY during 2011WC. it should be no different this time aroundRecommend

  • jssidhoo

    Mr Reddy i do not advocate not watching the match (i am a cricket fan ) what i tried to bring out was that we devote too much time & money to things like cricket matches , fighting wars & arms race and pay scant attention to poverty alleviation hope you agree with me poverty alleviation needs more attention than it gets right now .Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Visiting Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus to pay homage to 64 people killed by Pakistani Kasab Eleven would have gone long way. Please do not waste your time and money on Kirket or Bollywood. They are mere ganja imposed on present-Indians and ex-Indians.Recommend

  • Indus to Oxus

    that isn’t fairplay, just cause Indian brands have sponsorship rights it doesn’t allow them to propagate an open bias, FIFA would never let that happen at their world cup; they would never let Addidas openly support Germany or Hyundai openly support South Korea.

    The songs should have been an even mix and more so since Pakistani supporters were outnumbered to even out the numerical disadvantage.Recommend

  • D.

    xactly my point mate… its all screwing the merit … when everything is messed up in this country how does some one expects that cricket team would be different…Recommend

  • Gulchand Mehta

    You can play out your “shock” sanctimoniously.
    Agreed with Karachwala. It’s just Punjabis and Pathans
    on the team from Punjabistan. No wonder they have not
    won anything since the Stone Age. With “36 Punctures”
    Soothy in charge.Recommend

  • Clear Headed

    I think the cricket team should only have Karachites. They will beat Australia by inning defeat.They will bowl out South Africans in less than fifty runs.Indians would be so scared that they will refuse to play.Recommend

  • fze

    Don’t talk about waking the whole night. Without going to Adelaide, I also did the same. In England the match starts at 3.00 am, during the day I went to work and didn’t blink eyes till 3.00 am and what a disappointment it turned out to be. I didn’t even get to sleep the whole Saturday. The ghost of the match, Umar Akmal with his 0 and a dropped catch, kept haunting me. Looks like this WC is going to be torture for us.Recommend

  • fze

    Bro, don’t get frustrated. You got a dose of power play by Big 3. Enjoy because ‘party tu abhi shooru hui hay.’ A lot more to come by power brigade.Recommend

  • Jahil hamid

    LOL Crying victimhood appear to be the fav pastime for Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Jahil hamid

    Your sense of entitlement is amazing!Recommend

  • EthicalGuy

    Are you kidding me??? Fifa will not allow Adidas to support Germany if Adidas pays for it??? Advertising boards are available for anyone who is ready to pay money as long as the advertising is not racial/offensive etc…You actually want Indian companies to buy advertising boards and keep it blank??? Seriously…Recommend

  • EthicalGuy

    Political pressure of what??? And the reason Pakistan lost to West Indies must be because it was raining in Africa….right?Recommend

  • Hamid Mir

    We need more balanced and on spot writers like yourself. OutstandingRecommend