The Islamic Republic of Pakistan adopted the sport cricket from English expatriates and has endured long years of exclusion from the sport held in their own home. It’s a story similar to how other British colonies embraced other English sports: Nigeria embraced football while Pakistan and India adopted cricket. Here’s how the sport started in Pakistan and what it went through to become the country’s most popular sport.
Introduction of the sport
Cricket arrived in the region long before Pakistan was founded as a country in 1947. It was still a part of India in 1608 when English sailors arrived on the shores of South Asia. The sport was later introduced in 1721 as a recreational activity amongst the expatriate population. Cricket and football were the top practices in the subcontinent.
Online bookies, like Sportsbet.io, can see considerable traffic for cricket betting from India and Pakistan. However, there was a time when the locals were not welcome to play the sport. Clubs were created in 1792 in South Asia but only expatriates are allowed to join official events.
The English reasoned that the natives were too weak to compete against European athletes. This is how managers choose their club’s players. That statement didn’t age well as Pakistani clubs won games after games on home soil from their first test match in 1952 until 1959.
Aside from being English-only, it was considered a men’s only sport. It’s a mix of both the European’s insistence that it is the case as it is a norm that the locals have observed for years. To this day, cricket is still a predominantly men’s sport just like other team sports except Pakistani have had a successful women’s team in modern times.
First official Pakistani cricket league
Pakistan wasn’t a country until they declared independence from English rule and establishment as a separate nation from India in 1947. It still took time from then until they finally had an official cricket league because the growth of the sport was slow and steady. There are only two turf wickets in the country so its popularity was difficult to share with the rest of the nation.
An official Pakistani cricket team made its Test debut in 1952 at the Imperial Cricket Conference at Lord’s Cricket Ground. It was under the recommendation of India which didn’t have to go through the same process because it is the successor of the British Raj.
The first Test match for the team was against India in October 1952. The event was held in Delhi, India and the home country won 2-1. The next several matches for the next 8 seasons were a mix of draws and wins. They defeated England, Australia, and India on several occasions.
Team Pakistan reached the quarter-finals of World Cups 1979, 1983, 1987, and 2011. They made it to the finals in the 1992 and 1999 seasons. Pakistan’s first victory in international cricket leagues is against England in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup 1992.
Team Pakistan has shown more successes in the Twenty20 (T20) series as the champions of the T20 World Cup 2006 and runner up in the year after. They were also awarded the rank of Number 1 Test Team in 1988 and 2016.Cricket cemented its place as the most popular sport in Pakistan. Other than being the top category in bookies like Sportsbet.io, being a cricket athlete is a possible career path in the country. It’s also a great medium to compete with India whom they see as a rival in many topics. Cricket is also a fun recreational activity for everyone with no discrimination.