Mumbai:The fast moving events in Pakistan did cast their shadow on Monday's cricket face-off but even then couldn't succeed in taking the edge off what remains one of the most thrilling cricketing encounters in the world.
"Pakistan is a tough team. And if you play a good team well, the game is appreciated. India and Pakistan have a common language. They were once one country. Everybody loves a Indo-Pak match," said Virendra Sehwag, Cricketer.
The language was always the same. It is the rhetoric that has changed and perhaps also the body language. And national pride and cricketing passion has changed from this.
Now as the diplomatic deep freeze melts between the two countries, the same pitch battles are being shared with a smile.
The turning point, India's historic Pakistan tour of 2004, which one writer who covered the tour described as ''So, this was it then, the single biggest window there has been in almost 50 years, the single biggest window for a people to talk to another. We talked pretty well I think. And in the name of a contest.''
The tensions have eased not just because India and Pakistan meet more often but also because of a new generation of players liberated from the burden of history. Best symbolized by both the captains - Shoaib Mallik (25) and Dhoni a year older.
They lead a generation of players mostly from small towns. Growing up in a subcontinent where a new confidence is fast replacing old wounds.
"India and Pakistan are important rivals in world cricket. It's great to play against Pakistan as the pressure to perform is at another level," said Piyush Chawla, Cricketer.
"I think whenever you play an India-Pakistan match you get really aroused. You always feel you want to give your 100 per cent or probably a little more. Because you have always been rivals and all of that," said Dinesh Kartik, Cricketer.
"The team's morale runs strong during Indo-Pak matches. We are determined to do our best as expectations are very high," said Suresh Raina, Cricketer.
So is this the new face of India-Pakistan cricket - thrilling encounters but played without the burden of history. Seems India-Pakistan cricket finally is just a game.