Religion has no role to play in sport, but as it divides two countries it has an impact on the globe. India and Pakistan share a historical rivalry, be it cricket or any other means. It all started in 1947 when India got divided and Pakistan came into existence. Three battles between these two countries also ignited the rivalry. From there on, the rivalry began and since then the political situation has not been the best.
India is known for its pluralistic society and secularism. Religion has never come in the way of merits. Though, predominantly a Hindu populated nation, India’s diversity makes it special. Coming to India-Pakistan cricket matches, it is termed as the mother of all sporting rivalries. Pakistan has never beaten India in any World Cup match, be it 50 overs or 20 overs.
Ahead of India’s match at ICC World T20 2016 at Eden gardens, their 11th meeting against Pakistan, no Muslim cricketer played for the first time.
India first played against Pakistan in a 1992 World Cup game at Sydney cricket Ground. Since then one or more Muslim players have been part of the Indian team. Whenever they have played Pakistan in a World Cup match. In 1992, 1992, and 1999 editions of the ODI World Cup, India was lead by a Muslim cricketer, Mohammad Azharuddin. Then in 2003, there was Zaheer Khan on their side. In 2007 World Cup Yousuf Pathan and Irfan Pathan. Zaheer was apart of the World Cup side of 2011 and World T20 of 2012. In World T20 2014, and World Cup 2015, India had Mohammad Shami leading their pace attack.
Once again, they have played against each other, and this was the first time when there is no Muslim player in the India XI in a World Cup clash against Pakistan. Shami could not make it to the XI on his home ground at Eden Gardens.
Co-incidentally India also won the match against Pakistan for the first time without a Muslim player in the playing XI.