Rivalry the same but vibes are different | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Rivalry the same but vibes are different

The only real surprise was that it took the DJ an hour and 40 minutes, in which 21 overs were bowled, to queue up the track all Indian fans had been waiting for. The Jai Ho moment had the desired effect, momentarily cranking up the capacity crowd into a frenzy, reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Sep 27, 2009 00:54 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
ICC-Championstrophy-2009

The only real surprise was that it took the DJ an hour and 40 minutes, in which 21 overs were bowled, to queue up the track all Indian fans had been waiting for.

The Jai Ho moment had the desired effect, momentarily cranking up the capacity crowd into a frenzy.

When India play Pakistan, and especially in neutral territory where expatriates from both countries are starved of a connection to the motherland, symbolism is at a premium. The wartime metaphors slip seamlessly into sports reporting, words like revenge and redemption are bandied about and the action on the field seldom disappoints. At Centurion, the Indians comfortably outnumbered the Pakistanis, and you only needed to look at the tricolor drowning out the crescent and star to get a fairly decent idea.

But somehow, the atmosphere was nowhere near as electrifying as you’d expect. If you were in Karachi in 2004, or at the T20 World Cup final at the Wanderers two years ago, you would have felt a tangible rush. Perhaps this was because though Indian fans dominated the crowd, the first half was controlled by Pakistan.

Either way, the first half was played in such a subdued atmosphere that the most charged moment came before the first ball was bowled. The ICC has taken a leaf out of football and now has the two competing teams standing together for the national anthem.

As an Indian, to hear a South African sing Jana Gana Mana — and to his credit the pronunciation was almost spot on — in Centurion, some 7000km from home, was a feeling that won’t be easily replicated.