ICL: Indian Cricket League

Delhi crowd chants anti-Pakistan slogans


A day after call of Gali gali mein shor hai, Shoaib Akhtar chor hai echoed through the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, slogans of Pakistan Zindabad were heard at regular intervals from a Delhi crowd that turned up in large numbers on Saturday to watch the third day’s play of the opening Test.

On Friday, a section of the crowd continuously chanted anti-Pakistan slogans so much so that a local cricket official threatened to expel them from the stadium.

But it was a pleasant surprise as one heard slogans being raised from the same part of the stadium, praising Pakistan as the tourists fought back after a first innings collapse to take the upper hand in the opening Test against India.

Earlier, during the first two days of play, the Pakistani players heard the slogans but kept their focus on the field.

Their vice-captain Younis Khan, however, said that he was expecting a better behaviour from the Delhi crowd.

“We did hear the Kotla crowd’s anti-Pakistan chants. We just said, it doesn’t matter, they’re supporting their team. But just one thing: It doesn’t happen in Pakistan. Our crowds have invariably cheered India too whenever they’ve played there recently and that’s how it should be, ideally, just appreciate good cricket. But that’s life. Not always ideal,” Younis wrote in his syndicated column on Saturday.

The crowd response to this Pakistani team is in sharp contrast to the squad that came here for the 1999 tour.

An Indian newspaper quoted: “In 1999 when Pakistan toured India for the first time in over a decade, Feroz Shah Kotla, along with Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, left an indelible mark in the memory of all cricket lovers. Both the venues proved to be excellent hosts, who welcomed the Pakistan team with open arms. Now eight years and a couple of tours later, Kotla crowd’s attitude to Pakistanis have changed.”

Meanwhile, apart from commenting on the crowd behaviour, Younis also wrote about how a good fightback from Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Sami on the opening day has helped raise the morale in the Pakistani camp.

“That partnership really gave us hope. When teams have these dogged stands at the bottom, it is a sign that players are beginning to back each other up, fighting together. We’re talking positively in the dressing room, keeping it light. You know our batting is unpredictable; and that is as much a strength as a weakness. Someone somewhere strikes form and the others just carry on the momentum,” he wrote.

Misbah and Sami saved Pakistan from a complete collapse helping them to reach 231 after being precariously placed at 142-8 at one stage.

Younis also expressed his surprise at having an early start in foggy conditions. “I was surprised by the 9:30am start under the conditions. I’m told Delhi play their Ranji cricket like this, but it doesn’t mean its okay. It was foggy and smoggy but the Indian bowlers used the conditions beautifully and we messed up,” he added.

Source:Cricket News

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