The top-3 modern day rivalries which will define future India vs Pakistan clashes. Shubman Gill, Shaheen Afridi, Ishan Kishan, Shadab Khan and Kuldeep Yadav and Imam-ul-haq have played each other in U-19 Cricket World Cup.
The rivalry between India and Pakistan is acknowledged as the most intense and riveting in the world of cricket. The sheer quality of the matches, with high amount of emotional investment and mental drainage from the admirers of the game makes it a party like no other. The performances of players from either teams in these clashes can make them heroes or reduce them to a zero, something which isn’t usually when both the sides are playing against other countries.
This year India and Pakistan were slated to meet each other at the Asia Cup 2023 and ICC Men’s World Cup. They have already faced each other in a rain-disrupted match on September 2 in Pallekele - in which India won the toss and decided to bat against the fiery Pakistan pace attack.
The Pakistan bowlers exploited the swing conditions to utmost perfection and also used in-seam deliveries to trouble the Indian batters. The Pakistan pacers were successful in their ploy as India could muster up only 266 runs in 48.5 overs - the top order batters had failed to perform, and the Men in Blue were only saved by Ishan-Hardik’s partnership of 138 runs. However, the Pakistan side didn’t get an opportunity to chase in the match, as play was made impossible by heavy incessant rainfall.
The first game was thus a complete spoilsport, testing the fans’ patience with many interruptions owing to the rains and didn’t produce a result.
Now the Super 4 match between India and Pakistan is slated to be played at R Premdasa stadium in Colombo on September 10 - with chances of precipitation during the whole day standing at a whopping 90-100%, even the next day which has been kept as reserve has similar levels of expected precipitation.
The thrilling encounter, if the weather gods show mercy, will be a contest between the youngsters in both the teams. These youngsters from opposite camps have crossed paths just once or twice at best against each other at the U19 World Cup and now after many years they are again getting an opportunity to lock horns in the Asia Cup. Now let’s talk about all the possible matchups of India Pakistan rivalry who are going to etch the future course of the competitions between these two archnemeses.
Shubman Gill vs Shaheen Shah Afridi
Shubman Gill and Shaheen Afridi had crossed paths for the first time at the U19 World Cup, 2018 edition, where India annihilated Pakistan by 203 runs. While Gill had scored a marvelous 102 against Pakistan in the semifinals, Afridi had a rather forgettable day as he picked only a solitary wicket with an economy of 6.2.
The duo had a heated banter even then, as one of the incoming deliveries from Afridi had hit Gill’s bat’s handle and zipped through him, the ball went flying past to mid on. Afridi and another Pakistan bowler - Muhammad Musa - had charged at Gill saying that he ‘won’t get any Bangladeshi bowlers here’. In the next over, Gill executed a perfect pull shot and while running towards the bowling end, he gave back to Afridi in full stating that he isn’t a Pakistani batter either. This event laid the foundation of a strong Gen Z rivalry.
Both these youngsters have come a long way from their U-19 days and today they both are hailed as the upcoming stars in the world of cricket. The young Indian star, Gill, despite being in his best-ever form in 2023, has struggled against incoming deliveries even while playing at home and also his foot movements and reactions are sluggish at times along with him being late in leaning forward.
In the first match against Pakistan, Gill had a forgettable first Asia Cup appearance as he scored only 10 runs in 32 balls - getting beaten as well on several occasions. In the same match, Afridi had a memorable outing as he returned with the figures of 10-2-35-4 and claimed wickets of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja.
Gill’s S/R against left-arm seamers stands at a good 96.1%, with an average of 59.5 in his 8 innings in his career he faced against the left arm pacers.
Gill in his ODI career has 1514 runs to his name in 29 matches, scoring at an average of 63.08 and a healthy S/R of 102.64 - along with a double century.
Afridi, on the other hand, has 83 wickets to his name in 42 ODIs with an average of 22.63, alongside a decent economy of 5.38.
While the numbers present a strong case for what both can offer to the world of cricket in the coming future, when it comes to head-to-head encounters there sure will be sparks flying, and a memorable duel.
Imam ul Haq vs Kuldeep Yadav
The Pakistan batters didn’t get an opportunity to bat on September 2 against India as the match was called off due to heavy rains. Therefore, the cricket fans didn’t get to see the clash between Imam ul Haq and Kuldeep Yadav.
Prior to this, Imam and Yadav have faced each other only once, that is in the 2014 U19 World Cup in the group stage, where India won the contest by 40 runs. Imam had played a sluggish innings of 39 off 62 balls in the match and Yadav had no wickets to his name.
While they never faced each other after the U19 World Cup, both have seen a topsy turvy international career - but that doesn’t take away anything from what they can offer to the world of cricket. In a very small sample size of two innings against left arm chinaman, Imam has scored at an average of 47 with a S/R of 102.2.
In ODIs, Imam has scored 2967 runs in 64 innings at an average of 51.15 with a S/R of 82.34. Yadav, on the other hand, has 141 wickets to his name in 83 innings at an average of 26.79 with an economy rate of 5.14.
While they both have earned their places in their respective squads for the World Cup, they also have a chance to lock horns in the Super 4 stage of Asia Cup, which will decide the finalists for the tournament.
Ishan Kishan vs Shadab Khan
On September 2, Ishan got the chance to play against Shadab for the first time and he looked comfortable against him. The Indian youngster used his front foot perfectly to time the shots off Shadab’s bowling and hit him for 4 boundaries in the 20 balls he faced from him. Ishan had a wonderful outing against Pakistan as he scored 82 off 81 balls, while Shadab had no wickets to his name in that match.
Ishan has scored 776 runs in 17 ODI innings at an average of 48.50, and at a S/R of 106.74. Shadab, meanwhile, has 81 wickets under his belt in 60 ODI innings at an average of 32.06, with an economy of 5.11.
Even after playing a mature knock against Pakistan, it’s up to the management of Team India to take a call as to whom they will consider for the main wicket-keeper batsman role. Whether the in-form Ishan will be picked for the rest of the tournament or the experience of KL Rahul will put him ahead of him remains to be seen.
In his last 4 ODI outings, Ishan has scored consecutive half centuries while Rahul had played his last ODI against Australia on March 22 in Chennai - where he scored 32 off 50 deliveries. The management will have a hard time taking every scenario into consideration. It is also important to note that without Ishan in playing 11, the only left-hand batter in the Indian team will be Ravindra Jadeja.
At the end, if Team India shows their faith in the left-handed youngster, the fans will be able to witness an intense contest for domination between Ishan and Shadab.