The cricket World Cup is around the corner and for Pakistan the tournament kicks off with a match against neighbour India. As always whenever these two sides meet it is never just a match, it has become a grand spectacle; the most watched event in the cricketing world, and this year promises to be no different. Pakistan goes into the match with a weighty statistical jinx on their back, having never beaten India in a World Cup match, the pressure to rewrite history will be immense. Despite history favouring India in this competition, they don’t want to be the side that lost to Pakistan and finally broke what has been a proud record; being defending champions too, it is hard to tell who will be under more pressure going into the match.

Apart from being highly entertaining cricket matches, a large part of hype around Pakistan verses India exists due to the shared history of the two nations. Sharing a bitter partition and a few wars between them, the two nations have never been on friendly terms, and the matches are seen by the unforgiving millions as a de facto war. The flip side of cricketing stardom has brought violent backlash, if one is defeated by the “arch-rivals”. The lead up to the match often sees media from both sides resort to a vernacular reserved for war-time propaganda. Is all of this really necessary? In the time of simmering tensions between both sides should we not try to tone down such aggressive posturing? Yes, it ignites passion and adds spice to the proceeding, but look at Pakistan’s hockey team when they beat India and let their passions run free. We would do well to avoid such flare-ups. At the end of the day, both sides must return from the realm of sports to the real world, where such actions have consequences.

Regardless of cautionary words and measured approaches, it is hard not to get caught up in the flow of such an iconic event, perhaps the media itself is guilty of fandom, more so than anything else. The cricket world does stop and watch when India and Pakistan collide.