On paper, India and Pakistan don’t see eye to eye on many things. But one of their iconic rivalries passionately unites people from both nations. That’s cricket. And with Asia Cup kicking off, this almost-historic fight will be on display on Sunday in Dubai international stadium.
People from both sides of the border take their cricket and the accompanying friction very, very seriously. There are tonnes of drama, joy, sadness, and the never-ending want for another mauka. Cricket, in both nations, is no less revered than any fervent religion. And when it’s IND vs PAK, it’s like their gods themselves descend on earth.
Head to head, India, and Pakistan have had 13 encounters in cricket world cups. India has won 11 times, Pakistan aced 1 and the remaining ended in a tie. Political tensions mean the neighbours don’t play with each other as often. But this forced exclusivity combined with the cricket-loving hearts of India’s 1.3 billion and Pakistan’s 22 crore has given birth to an equally thriving economy surrounding it.
For this match of the Asia cup, which will be live on Star Sports and Disney+ Hotstar, ad rates have shot up to as high as Rs 14-15 lakh/10 seconds. To put this in perspective, most other matches are pegged at Rs 6-7 lakh/10 seconds.
On Hotstar, the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) ranges between Rs 270 and 280. For others, the CPM ranges between Rs 150 and 180. Clearly, the stakes are high.
“Of course, it’s India vs Pakistan. Even someone who does not like cricket gets glued to the sport on that day. I don’t watch this sport that often, but even I have cleared up my Sunday to enjoy the match with my friends at home. Heck, I’ll even watch the pre- and post-match presentations,” says Neil Dholabhai, a Mumbai-based professional.
India’s Cricketing Economy
Apart from tournaments, both nations ride high on the momentum of their respective franchise cricket. India has the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pakistan has the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
With 10 teams and prize money of Rs 20 crore, IPL is way ahead of PSL, which has 6 teams and offers Rs 3 crore to the winning team. For IPL 2022, the Board of Control of Cricket in India earned about Rs 8 billion. PSL 2022 raked in PKR 2.3 billion for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Financially too, Indian franchise cricket owners are some of the richest in the world. The recently constituted cricketing leagues of UAE and South Africa also have an Indian stamp. Out of 12 teams in both franchises, 9 are owned by IPL owners.
That BCCI is cash rich and is the wealthiest cricketing board in the world is no secret. Pakistan’s turbulent economy, where inflation just touched 44.58%, certainly lacks the resources to invest monetarily in cricket the way we do.
But the passion for cricket is in rich abundance on the other side of the border as well. For every Jasprit Bumrah we have, they have a Shaheen Afridi. There’s a Babar Azam for King Kohli. That’s what makes every cricketing contest in and between the two nations so enthralling.