Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden has been impressed by the sporting brotherhood on display after Pakistan beat India to break its run of 12 losses in World Cup contests between the arch-rivals.
India captain Virat Kohli embraced Mohammad Rizwan soon after Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket win in the Twenty20 World Cup game on Sunday to start its Super 12 campaign.
Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, now a mentor with the team, smiled as he spoke with Pakistan players including captain Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani soon after the game ended.
“The thing that inspired me the most out of the performance was the fantastic sporting brotherhood,” Hayden, an intensely competitive former Australia opening batsman now working with Pakistan's T20 squad, said in a video message from Dubai.
The political tension between the subcontinental neighbours has resulted in the countries avoiding bilateral cricket series since Pakistan visited India in 2012-13 and played a short limited-overs series. However, they compete against each other regularly in the International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments.
Hayden said the way the Pakistan and Indian players came together was a good example “of how we should treat each other as people”.
“That's the role of sport, so it's beautiful to see those moments where MS Dhoni is holding court with a few of the (Pakistan) players and Virat Kohli and (Rizwan), you know, in brotherhood, joining hands after there were heated battles in the middle.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board appointed Hayden as a batting consultant and South African Vernon Philander as a bowling consultant for the T20 World Cup after head coach Misbahul Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis stepped down.
Hayden joined the squad in the United Arab Emirates, following his stint as a commentator in the Indian Premier League which ended two days before the World Cup began on Oct 17.
Following Pakistan's record-breaking win, Babar reminded his teammates to stay focused on winning the World Cup instead of getting carried away with the win over India.
“Great humility from our perspective inside the change rooms, not getting carried away too much with the celebrations, but just this great humility, this great sense of spirit and great sense of purpose moving into the next game against New Zealand,” he said.
Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi's burst in his opening two overs provided Pakistan with the key wickets of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and helped restrict India to 151-7 in Sunday's match. Afridi also went on to take the wicket of top-scorer Kohli in his return spell.
For Hayden, it was a prime example of what Pakistan's pacemen are capable of producing.
“Pakistan has velocity in abundance, not just here but also back home that aren't celebrated in this World Cup,” he said. “Shaheen really is that one leader within the bowling group [...] nothing beats velocity, mixed up with some skill.”