New Delhi: In a few hours from now, the country’s focus will turn to Kolkata, the venue of the India vs Pakistan men’s World T20 Super League 10 match at Eden Gardens.
With emotions running high and feelings of patriotism reaching fever pitch, every cricket fan will take his place either in the stands or in front of a television for the much-awaited encounter.
On Saturday afternoon though, there will be another battle — as intense and fiercely-fought — at the Ferozeshah Kotla here when the India-Pakistan womens’ teams come face-to-face. The ‘calm and almost indifferent’ atmosphere at the Kotla here on Friday, however, was in sharp contrast to the hype generated by an India vs Pakistan clash as the teams underwent training.
The irony was not lost on Pakistan women’s team skipper Sana Mir, who called on fans to “fill the stadium on the morrow”. Said the 30-year-old, “I have never compared men’s cricket to that of women. We cannot do that. I think we all need to show a lot of patience for women’s cricket to grow. Having said that, I would like the fans to come in large numbers and cheer for the Indo-Pak women’s teams.
Asked if holding the men’s and women’s matches on different days would have helped bring more spectators to the ground, Mir said, “Yes, in some ways it would have helped us. We are playing at 3:30 pm here and the men’s match begin at 7:30 pm.
“To those who would come to the Delhi stadium tomorrow, watching the first few overs of the men’s match on the internet wouldn’t harm them!” was Sana’s candid request.
Different scenario on field: Mithali
India skipper Mithali Raj admitted that an Indo-Pak encounter was “always big”. “We can, as players, say that they are just like other opponents but it’s a different scenario when we are on the field. There are so many things running in your mind. General people see it as India-Pakistan but I think both teams obviously want to do well and make their country proud,” the skipper said.