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Islamist Gladiatorial Parade: Is It Cricket? – Part 2

“Takes jihadi mindset of another level to say this in a sport,” tweeted an anguished Venkatesh Prasad on Waqar Younis comment (“Hinduon ke beech me khade hoke namaaz padi, that was very very special for me”). A quarter century ago, it took “something special,” out of this world heroics from the Men in Blue to knock out Pakistan, the defending champions, at the Quarter Final of Wills World Cup 1996 in Bengaluru. The high-intensity match is remembered for Prasad sending Aamer Sohail off (after his arrogant taunt) and ripping the heart out of Pakistan’s batting by removing three wickets in 18 balls (including Inzamam-ul-Haq); Man of the Match Navjot Sidhu missing century (93 runs) — and Ajay Jadeja’s brutal clubbing of Waqar Younis (who conceded 22 runs in the 48th over and 18 in the 50th versus 27 in his first eight overs). “Cricket matches between India and Pakistan are “less cricket and more gladiatorial contests,” remarked the then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh in mid-2001 during the NDA Government, which discontinued cricket bilaterals “given the atmosphere prevailing.” Situation has only worsened in the past 20 years with Pakistan emerging as a home to the world’s largest pool of UN designated terrorists – and India being the No 1 victim of the terror attacks like 26/11, Pulwama and a series of bomb blasts across cities, massacring and maiming thousands of Indians.