No matter what anyone tells you, and people will tell you a lot of things, we play sports to understand each other better.
Through victories, pride, or even embarrassment. Through injuries, centuries, and goals. Everything that is accomplished or lost on the field, tells you something about the person on the other side and that is the charm of sport.
In its best moments, sport can be heartening enough for several generations of fans to look back and relive the nostalgia like they were present when those things happened. And yesterday's match between Indian and Pakistan had plenty of such moments.
This was the first time India lost a match to Pakistan at a World Cup event, but that sad realisation did not stop captain Virat Kohli from reaching out to Pakistani players. With a smile on his face, he congratulated them on a well-earned victory, showing the world that competition doesn't have to make you bitter.
Virat Kohli was the first person to walk over and congratulate the Pakistani batters on their win. There's grace & respect on both sides of the border. Don't let anyone guide you to hate. Here's to a positive relationship in the future between these 2 nations 🇵🇰🤝🇮🇳#T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/F360ZWkR4F— Aatif Nawaz (@AatifNawaz) October 24, 2021
Later, the Pakistan team did its part by circling around India's mentor and ex-captain MS Dhoni. The players stood there, listening to the legend, presumably in an effort to gain whatever wisdom they could. Ego did not get the better of winners, and that was pleasant to witness.
Really loved the scenes at the end between Virat and Rizwan and Babar and thereafter between some of the younger Pakistan players and Dhoni. Beyond the hype and posturing, this is the true story of sport.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) October 24, 2021
Even outside the field, the sides acted with dignity and gave the opposition the respect it deserved. Here is Kohli said regarding Pakistan's exceptional performance in the World T20 opener.
As you'd expect, this kind of behavior had a ripple effect on the general population of both nations, and here are some reactions on social media that prove the same.
The best thing about sports is how it brings out genuine respect and brotherhood. Sending love to @imVkohli and all of #India's cricket fans. This is the spirit of friendship we should follow. #indiaVsPakistan #IndiaVsPak #IndianCricketTeam #PakistanZindabad #PAKvIND #Pakistan pic.twitter.com/BBxscbtfyJ— Hamza Azhar Salam (@HamzaAzhrSalam) October 24, 2021
Wins such as tonight’s reaffirm the belief of those who swear by the power to sports to change societies, to build friendships, to heal wounds past, to regenerate and to regrow.— Wengerullah (@wengerullah) October 24, 2021
Together we are better, never doubt or forget that #Pakistan #India
Well done pakistan. It was a well deserved victory. Come back stronger team india #INDvPAK— Dr Ramkumar . (@draaarkk) October 24, 2021
Events that went down during and after yesterday's historic encounter showed that one can rise above politics and appreciate each other for a game played with good intentions.
This can be a lesson for all those who seem to be on a mission to ruin things with prejudice that has no place in a civilised society or in any beating heart.
Cricket, like any other sport, is about empathy. May we never lose sight of that.