A cricket match between India and Pakistan is one of the most anticipated contests in the world of sports. In fact, everything gets into a ‘pause’ mode in these two nations when they face off each other. A sheer feeling of banter mixes into the festivity of the rivalry ahead of this game.
Unfortunately, this contest rarely takes places these days. The geopolitical clashes between the two nations gets into the way of a show of sportsmanship. In fact, attempts to use cricket as a promotion of harmony fails time and again. For the record, the last ever proper series between the two was organized in the year 2013. Thereafter, the Indian cricket team did not meet their Pakistani counterparts except in ICC tournaments.
To clarify, efforts have been made across the years to improve the situation. Even, cricket earned a place often in the tactics of peace between India and Pakistan. But, most of these attempts got erased from the memories as bloodshed took over in regular intervals.
In this article, we would read about one such past trial to endorse solidarity among cricketers from India and Pakistan.
Mohammad Nissar Trophy, A First-Class Competition
The Nissar Trophy was an annual challenge between the first-class champion teams from India and Pakistan. In other words, it involved the Ranji trophy winning side from India as one of the contenders. On the other hand, it featured the Quaid-i-Azam trophy winners from Pakistan.
The tournament got its name after Mohammad Nissar, a former Indian cricketer from Punjab. In fact, Nissar was one of the prime members of the Indian test team before independence. His raw pace earned him the title of the fastest bowler of the world in the 1930s. Nissar played 6 test matches for India, his last one being in the year 1936. However, after independence and partition of the Indian landmass, he migrated to Lahore, Pakistan. He also contributed in the establishment of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in 1947.
The confronting nations came together during the mid 2000s to use cricket as a medium of peace talks. In fact, India and Pakistan had four cricket tours between 2003 and 2007 including the historic Pakistan tour of India in 2003-04.
In the year 2006, the two boards came together to announce about a new tournament involving the first-class champions of the two nations. So, this is how the concept of the Nissar trophy came out in public for the first time.
The Nissar Trophy was played as a four-day first-class match in every September for three years since its inception. India and Pakistan were supposed to host alternate editions of this contest. Hence, the first match in 2006 took place in Dharamshala, India.
In case of a draw, the team with first innings lead was presented the title in this competition. In fact, the two countries practice this rule in their respective domestic tournaments also.
Nissar Trophy, 2006: Uttar Pradesh versus Sialkot
The first ever Nissar trophy game took place on 27-30 September, 2006. As mentioned earlier, the Indian cricket board hosted the game at the HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala. Here, the 2005-06 Ranji champions Uttar Pradesh met the 2005-06 Quiad-i-Azam winners Sialkot in this one-off contest.
A rookie Suresh Raina led the home team in absence of its regular skipper Mohammad Kaif. On the other hand, the visitors had Pakistan opening batsman Imran Nazir as its captain. In addition, the game involved a few significant names from both the sides. For instance, Sialkot had the likes of Shoaib Malik or Mohammad Asif in team. On the other hand, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh and Piyush Chawla featured in the bowling lineup of Uttar Pradesh.
Raina won the toss and decided to bat first on the testing pitch of Dharamshala. But, the decision seemed to have backfired as UP got reduced to 121/6 about an hour past lunch. However, a valiant knock of 84 from Rizwan Shamshad helped the hosts reach 316 on the first innings.
Sialkot batsmen almost had an action replay of what their counterparts had to bear on the first innings. In other words, they struggled to 96/6 in the first session of the second day’s play. However, captain Nazir scored a fine century on his way to take Sialkot to 261. Finally, he got dismissed at the last wicket on his personal score of 123.