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14 - Conflicting loyalties: nationalism and religion in India–Pakistan cricket relations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2012

Anthony Bateman
Affiliation:
De Montfort University, Leicester
Jeffrey Hill
Affiliation:
De Montfort University, Leicester
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Summary

The story of India and Pakistani cricket relations is not a bilateral one but a triangular one. It involves not only the cricketers and administrators of the two countries but also India's huge Muslim population. Their position, and in particular what the majority Hindu community perceive to be their attitude, is part of this three-sided story.

Early personalities and rivalries

Early India–Pakistan cricket relations were shaped by two individuals who went back to the era before the British withdrawal from the subcontinent in 1947. Both had played for India and both hailed from Lahore. The first of them, Lala Amarnath, was one of India's most celebrated and controversial cricketers, the first Indian to score a Test century and the first to be sent home from a tour, following clashes with the team manager on the 1936 tour of England. On the Pakistani side was Abdul Hafeez Kardar, who had played for India before partition, being a team-mate of Amarnath on the 1946 tour of England. Then, Muslims had formed a sizeable proportion of the Indian Test team. Nearly all of them were from Punjab, a northern Indian state, and nearly all of them were from the Indian lower-middle classes. India's partition resulted in the division of Punjab, with Lahore going to Pakistan, and the loss of a great many Muslim cricketers, particularly fast bowlers. Kardar, a strong supporter of Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah and a believer in the two-nation theory that Muslims needed their own homeland, played a huge part in creating and developing Pakistani cricket.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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