CWC 2023: Here's Why Pakistan Won't Play vs India In Mumbai If They Qualify For Semi-Finals; Eden Gardens To The Rescue

CWC 2023: Here's Why Pakistan Won't Play vs India In Mumbai If They Qualify For Semi-Finals; Eden Gardens To The Rescue

The Pakistanis have had serious security concerns playing in Mumbai for many decades since the Shiv Sena opposed their entry by digging up the pitch in 1991

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Wednesday, November 08, 2023, 06:10 PM IST
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As the World Cup winds its way into the knock out stages, there is a strong buzz of an India-Pakistan semifinal.

With India already assured to finish as the top-placed team and play the first semifinal at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai against the fourth-placed team.

The catch is that if Pakistan qualifies for the semifinals as the fourth-placed team, then the dream match up of an India-Pakistan semifinal would take place but it would be at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Not at the Wankhede where Mumbaikars would love to go and enjoy the clash.

Pakistan don't want to play in Mumbai: Here's Why

Pakistan have been very vocal about their reluctance to play in Mumbai from a very long time and had made it clear they would play their semifinal in Kolkata only.

There is a bit of history between Pakistan and Mumbai when it comes to cricket.

The Pakistanis last played an international match in Mumbai way back in 1979 where they lost to India in a Test match and since then no Pakistan team has set foot here.

With India-Pakistan relations constantly on the boil due to historical tensions and three wars, cricketing relations were also affected and especially Pakistan's India tours.

Two tours by Pakistan to India were cancelled in 1991 and 1993 owing to strong opposition by certain political outfits.

Past history and political backlash

In 1991, Pakistan were scheduled to play in Mumbai on the tour and the Wankhede pitch was dug up by a band of Shiv Sainiks led by Shishir Shinde opposing the Pakistan team's participation.

Subsequently, the entire tour was cancelled by the BCCI and the government.

With relations going from bad to worse due to geo-political issues, Pakistan never played here although some of their players did express their interest to play in India's financial capital.

In the words of former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, on the 1999 tour of India, the then Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister LK Advani had come to receive the team at the hotel and asked them "Kya Chahiye Tum Logon Ko? (What do you people want?).

When Saeed Anwar said 'We want to play a match in Mumbai'

Pakistan's then swashbuckling opener Saeed Anwar responded to Advani's question stating, "We want to play a match in Mumbai".

After the Kargil War of 1999 and thereafter the Parliament attack and the biggest of them all, the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai itself completely changed the India-Pakistan dynamic forever.

Today, the situation is such that India and Pakistan don't play each other bilaterally and only clash in ICC multilateral events.

Withe the current political climate, an India-Pakistan match in Mumbai at the Wankhede seems like a long way away.

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