India-Pakistan rivalry has become an industry, keeps many other verticals warm: Gautam Gambhir

India-Pakistan rivalry has become an industry, keeps many other verticals warm: Gautam Gambhir

Gambhir highlighted the cloaked part of the India-Pakistan rivalry, which he reckons is kept alive with the deliberate intention of “generating revenues”.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir. (Photo by Hardik Chhabra/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir feels that the cricketing rivalry between India and Pakistan has become an industry itself. Gambhir contrasted that with Australia and New Zealand’s case, who are neighbours too but do not have a rivalry as fierce as that of India-Pakistan as per him. Gambhir’s comments come ahead of the T20 World Cup, where Australia and New Zealand will take on each other in a repeat of the 2015 ODI World Cup clash.

“It is difficult to notice the cricketing rivalry between Australia and New Zealand. Like India and Pakistan, they are neighbours too. Like Indians and Pakistanis, Aussies and Kiwis hate losing to each other… By no means is the rivalry as fierce as the one between India and Pakistan. Have you wondered why? Are they not cynical enough to create lop-sided advertising campaigns to sell their products riding on what is essentially a cricket match? Or is it the economics of the major stakeholders?”

Gambhir highlighted the cloaked part of the India-Pakistan rivalry, which he reckons is kept alive with the deliberate intention of “generating revenues”, as there is no manifest effort ever to appease the unrealistic hype fostered by more non-cricketing reasons than cricketing.

“History of India and Pakistan seems to be at the base of the sporting rivalry. Since 1947 we have fought four times and have had numerous skirmishes on the border. This has seeped into sports too, cricket being the frontrunner. I sometimes feel that India-Pakistan rivalry has become an industry in itself, which keeps many other verticals warm. No one seems to be in a hurry to reduce the jingoism volume on this one as it generates revenue.”

India went down against Pakistan by 10 wickets when the two teams met during this edition’s Super12 round, as Babar Azam’s men created history by snapping a 12-match losing streak their nation had endured against India at the World Cups.

Meanwhile, Gambhir further drew a comparison between the population of India-Pakistan and Australia-New Zealand, suggesting that it also has a role to play in the former having a rivalry fiercer than of the latter.

“The combined population of Australia and New Zealand is around three crores while here we are catering to 22 crores in Pakistan and approximately 140 crores at home. The database is chalk and cheese. Even if 10 per cent of the population of India and Pakistan are engaged, we are talking to five times more the combined number of Australia and New Zealand.”

“Then there is a small matter of emotions from Indians and Pakistanis. I am not suggesting that Aussie and Kiwis are heartless but we can’t say, “bad luck” or “well played” and share a post-match drink. It is not only Virat Kohli but most of India wears their heart on their sleeve. Let’s accept it that we are poor losers and that is what that marketing guy exploits when he sucks us into high-pitched, biased promotional campaigns,” he added.