When it comes to cricket, people would easily associate it with India because we all know how much they also love this sport there. However, cricket isn’t only extremely popular in India. In Pakistan, this is also one of the most-loved sports in the country.
Hockey is the national sport of Pakistan, but cricket is where the heart of many is. It is played by many people all over the country and they also love watching big cricket sports events like the Indian Premier League (IPL). Pakistanis would also flood the best online cricket betting sites in India whenever a big match is on.
History of Cricket in Pakistan
Cricket has been played in the country even before the creation of Pakistan in 1947. The first Cricket match that was held in the now land of Pakistan happened on November 22, 1935. It was the British people who introduced this sport to the locals as it was during their rule of British Columbia.
However, it was in 1952 when Pakistanis were allowed to play full test matches and it has been great for them as the country did not lose a test match on home soil until 1959. The country did produce gifted cricketers in the 1950s. Some of the pioneers are Shoaib Akhtar, Imran Khan, and Shahid Afridi.
Today, it is extremely popular in the country that there are now efforts to bring more cricket matches to Pakistan soil. It’s mainly the international matches that can’t be played yet in the country. Many international teams refuse to play here for security concerns but despite this, the national team is doing great.
Rivalry with India
The British rule on Pakistan caused bad relations with India and during the independence, many people from both countries perished. This is why the rivalry between the two countries is simply deep-rooted. This makes any sports match between the two one of the events that people would look forward to.
India and Pakistan may not meet eye-to-eye at some things but they share the love for cricket and during cricket matches, they set aside the issues and just be on the of the game. The players are all professional in terms of this and they only really focus on the matches.
Cricket Events in the Country
If India has the IPL, Pakistan’s mega-event when it comes to this sport is the Pakistan Super League (PSL). This is governed by the Pakistan Cricket Board, which is also an official member of the International Cricket Council and the Asian Cricket Council.
PSL was founded in September 2015 with five teams and it is also known as a professional Twenty20 cricket league. Today, six teams are now part of the league, representing the six cities in Pakistan. It takes place during February or March each year.
The PSL is also the league to watch to see how highly sponsored cricket is in Pakistan. You can see cosmetic companies, mobile and telecom companies, and food and beverage companies sponsoring teams involved in the PSL.
The Locals Don’t Just Watch, They Also Play
With the popularity of cricket, it’s no surprise that people of all ages in the country are also known to love to play this. It’s mainly because this sport doesn’t have to be expensive. You can play cricket with various types of equipment.
Teenagers are known to play tape ball wherein players will only need a taped ball, a bat, and a wicket. This is a safer alternative for young players as it could cause little to no injuries. A tape ball bat would only cost around 3 dollars and a good taped tennis ball is just around 1 dollar. A wicket is around 2 dollars and so it would only cost around 12 dollars for 22 people to play cricket.
Cricket can also be played on any land. There’s no need for a special court or field to enjoy this game. This is why you can see teenagers and adults play this on the streets of Pakistan. For people who want to take this sport to the next level, they can play in stadiums and special grounds by paying a few charges.
You can also see the involvement of cricket in the country’s education. Intra and inter-school cricket tournaments are held each year. Universities would also offer tournaments and matches. The players are recruited through a selection process that starts from academy cricket to International cricket.
When you visit the country, it’s easy to see how much the locals love this and with that, you can also see many Pakistanis wager on this sport too. It’s just so hard to miss how much cricket is part of everyone’s lives here.