Patiala: Stressing that Indo-Pak cricket matches should be treated as a sporting contest, former Pakistan batsman Saeed Anwar says the rivalry between the two nations would be for the good of the game. "I think the rivalry (between India and Pakistan) will be always good for cricket and for spectators as well," said Anwar who was here to play a festival match between a Pakistan Invitation XI and Punjab Chief Minister's XI yesterday. Anwar felt it was the pressure when the two teams play each other that made these contests unique. "You know why India-Pakistan matches attract such big crowds," said Anwar, who played in 55 Tests and scored 4052 runs. "But take it just as a game, that's all," he was quick to add. "It should not be taken as a war or something, but as a game." Anwar, who holds the world record for the highest score in one-dayers, however feels that pressure and rivalry are key to any Indo-Pak tie. "Otherwise (if there is no rivalry), there will be no charm left," he said. According to Anwar, as long as the game was treated as a game and not as a war, things should be okay. "It should not get down to the level that if India loses, the players have to fear backlash from the home crowd and likewise our players should not have similar fear at the back of their minds," he said. Praising the sporting crowd who gave a standing ovation to the visitor when they took a lap of honour at the end of yesterday's match, Anwar said the tension between the two countries was melting, but that it would take some more time before things reached complete normalcy. "It will take a little time, but this is good. Atleast, we have started this (the process of normalisation) and with these friendly matches, I think tensions will further ease up," he says. Anwar, however, took exception to the media hype surrounding an Indo-Pak match . "It puts pressure on spectators, players and families as well ... I really don't think it should be like that".
Topics : Cricket