India and Pakistan resolve to fulfil fixture obligation despite Abdul Razzaq’s retirement

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Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

The cliché is that cricket is a religion in India, which has always seemed to us to greatly overstate the importance of religion in a country where such things are basically ten a paise.

Pakistan’s pretty keen on the sport too. It’s good to find things you have in common.

As an outsider, matches between these two teams are a delight. They’re shorn of the tension borne of having any real preference who wins and yet are riddled with zillions of reminders that what is happening is A Big Deal.

And the fixtures are so rare too. You can’t often say that about international cricket.

If we’re to go digging for a cloud beyond this lovely silver lining – which of course we are – it comes in the form of team selection. No Stuart Binny for India and quite inexplicably no Azhar Mahmood or Abdul Razzaq for Pakistan.

The latter (again) announced his retirement from international cricket two days ago, which must rank as a particularly magnificent effort even by Pakistani standards.

The show goes on though. Our in-depth preview is that India have the better recent record but Pakistan have been in Birmingham for slightly longer, which surely must count for something.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. I wonder whether Andy Caddick will ever technically retire from international cricket .

    It’s rather fun to imagine, in 50 years time, as Caddick sitting in his bath chair within his retirement home, the phone ringing and Caddick musing, “is that the selectors for me?”

  2. Apologies if everyone already knew this, but Death of a Gentleman is on Netflix (at least in the UK). It looks like it’s been available since August last year, but such are the vagaries of Netflix’s interface that it’s quite tricky to know what’s available, so I mention this just in case anyone with Netflix access was unaware.

    1. I have Netflix, and was also unaware. So this post was most helpful. Thankyou A P Webster.

    2. The weird thing is Death of a Gentleman hasn’t aged well, despite being what 2 years old? It was made at a particularly bad time for cricket administration. Most of the atrocities have now been rolled back, and the atrocious people replaced. All formats incl Test cricket are doing well. The film now looks like it jumped the gun in taking a cynical view and in extrapolating all sorts of possible future horrors. It may still stand as a warning in an alternate future, but doesn’t make for good viewing in the present.

      1. We thought the segment about Ed Cowan getting to play for Australia was the strongest when we first watched it. We can’t imagine that has dated one bit.

      2. With regards to Ed Cowan – I felt slightly ashamed to be pleased when watching an Australian make a Test Hundred, I’ll tell you that.

        As to Test Cricket ‘doing well’ – I think I’ll see how the ‘City based franchise’ tournament goes down in England and Wales, and wait for a couple of the Big 4 Test Teams to lose a home series to an ‘other’ Test team, before I fully agree with that.

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