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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 12:27 GMT
Youngsters renew old rivalry
A fan shows his colours before the match
A fan shows his colours before the match
Nick Hoult reports for BBC Sport Online after India and Pakistan are involved in a rare cricketing battle in the Under-19 World Cup.

Politics have kept the two sets of youngsters apart but new friendships were formed and cricket was the undoubted winner when Pakistan and India faced off on Thursday.

The tension in Kashmir has prevented India and Pakistan meeting on a cricket field at international level since June 2000.

And that fact made the match between the two teams in Christchurch all the more significant.

There was much at stake but the passion showed by both teams would have been the same if only a few rupees and pride had been all that was at stake.

Mutual respect between the teams is evident
Mutual respect between the teams is evident

As it was Pakistan triumphed by two wickets but the win was tinged with disappointment as the West Indies' victory over Sri Lanka terminated Pakistan's World Cup campaign.

Holders India had already qualified for the semi-finals.

Even though it was tense on the field, after the match both sides hugged each other, and parted as friends rather than enemies.

"Before the game we spoke to the boys and told them that they must play the game in the best traditions of cricket," said Pakistan manager Brigadier Javed Tipu.

"The point is that these boys are youngsters and they are the future of Pakistani and India cricket.

"Some of them will be meeting each other at international level throughout their lives and they have their whole careers ahead of them which is why wanted them to become friends now.

I always enjoyed playing against Pakistan during my career
Dilip Vengsarkar
India's coach

"We are not soldiers at the border. We are just cricketers and politics should be kept away from sport.

"We hope and pray that this match is the beginning of the return of normal cricketing ties between the two countries."

The same sentiment was echoed by India's coach Dilip Vengsarkar who has his own happy memories of playing against Pakistan during his 116-Test match career.

"It's good to see us playing again," he said. "There are some good cricketers in both teams and it's right that they should be playing against each other.

"I always enjoyed playing against Pakistan during my career. They were always tense matches and a test of mental strength.

"Matches between the two countries separate the men from the boys.

Pakistan manager Brigadier Javed Tipu and India coach Balwinder Singh Sand
Pakistan's manager and India's coach embrace

"There is so much interest in cricket in the sub-continent and it's a shame that we are not playing each other at the highest level.

"There is such a huge interest in matches between India and Pakistan in both countries and it was very important for us to win."

The match itself turned out to be a close game with India setting Pakistan a target of 182 for victory.

In order to earn a bonus point Pakistan needed to knock off that total within 41.1 overs, but they fell three runs short and victory was sealed two overs too late.

The delight of seeing Pakistan knocked out even though they won the match was evident on the faces of the Indian supporters.

Peculiar rivalry

It provided an insight into the peculiar rivalry that exists between the two countries.

With the situation in Kashmir showing no sign of improvement it could be a long time before these two teams meet again.

But when cricketing relations are eventually restored, there could be one or two players from the match in Christchurch lining-up against each other once again.

If that is the case then the bonds formed in New Zealand will stand them in good stead, and suspicion will have been replaced by a mutual respect for one another.

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