This week 13 years ago saw the climax of an absolute classic of a Test match between India and Pakistan in Chennai.
It was a game of twists and turns with the visitors looking to have gained the upper hand when India slipped to 81 for five chasing 271 to win before a certain Sachin Tendulkar cracked a wonderful hundred to take India within sight of victory. Then the final twist as the Little Master fell to Saqlain Mushtaq and the Indian tail was swept away with Pakistan winning by 12 runs.
That was the first Test between the two great rivals for nine years and the first instalment of five Test series that they would play out against each other until 2007. But since then nothing.
There are many very good non-cricketing reasons why Pakistan have not toured India for five years and even more is true vice versa, but the absence of these fierce battles at Test level at least is genuine cause for sadness and regret.
Being English, we regard the Ashes as the ultimate cricketing contest, but India versus Pakistan is not far behind. Surely there is merit in staging a three (preferably five) match series in a neutral venue such as the UAE or even England where packed houses could be guaranteed and television receipts would be high.
The thought of Tendulkar facing Ajmal on a tricky Abu Dhabi surface or Misbah tackling Zaheer on a Headingley seamer certainly whets the appetite. But we won’t hold our breath about this happening soon, which in cricketing terms at least is tragic.
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