World Cup 2019 Pakistan Ad Mocks Abhinandan Varthaman’s Capture To Publicise Clash Against India

Written by Chaitra Krishnan, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication)  • 

There’s no joy greater than seeing your opponents score a self-goal in a match, is there? That’s precisely what has happened here. As the biggest event of cricket, the ICC World Cup 2019 sweeps the world of cricket with excitement and competitive spirit, the cricket teams and their countries are actively putting out content in support of their teams. Cricket, football, or basketball, any sport has one unsaid rule — never make the sport an unpleasant game of mudslinging. In that view, Pakistan seems to have scored a self-goal!

While it’s a well-known fact that two nations, India and Pakistan, have been at loggerheads for decades, one cannot miss noticing the excitement (read: disguised rivalry) an India vs Pakistan brings about among the citizens of both the countries. But, how far can one go in the name of competitive spirit? Definitely not as far as Pakistan did with an ad that’s equivalent to stepping on someone toes, that too with a smile. Let’s find out what the ruckus is all about, after all.

Image: Instagram @ashokthakorofficial

To give a little context to all the fuss, let’s jog your memory a little. Abhinandan Varthaman was attacked by the Pakistani civilians and then kept in custody by the Pakistani army after his MiG-21 Bison was downed by the neighboring state’s Air Force team, in February early this year. Before the Pakistani government succumbed to the pressure exerted on them by India to release Commander Varthaman, they released a video to send the message to the world that he isn’t being harmed and is having tea in peace. This is the exact same video the creative minds in Pakistan have added “humor” to. While it is quite obvious that our war hero may be a villain to the opposition country, bringing that to sports is absurd and disgusting.

Pakistan has clearly walked over “sportsman spirit” with dirty feet when they released the advertisement on Cricket World Cup 2019. It’s a disgrace to both the nations’ cricket fans who are waiting eagerly for the India vs Pakistan face off on June 16th, 2019. It’s out in the broad daylight that India and Pakistan haven’t been among the best allies. However, it’s always best to keep art and culture away from the shadows of political bitterness.

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

The controversial ad that has hit the internet like a tornado has lead to a whirlwind of bitter arguments on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram among people from the two countries. The advertisement that mocked Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman showcased his scared faced during an official confrontation with the Pakistani Army. In the ad, the actor who resembles Abhinandan (sporting his signature mustache) refuses to answer questions asked regarding the Indian cricket team, just the way Abhinandan refused to answer when he was questioned about the Indian army. And when he leaves, they stop him and ask him to leave the teacup behind, playing on the idea “let’s bring the cup home.” While this was a cheap media stunt by Pakistan, it has done quite a harm to the already burning relationship between the two countries.

Source: YouTube

If you look at the stats, Pakistan has won more matches against India in both test cricket as well as ODIs. But on the other hand, Pakistan has never defeated India even once in the history of the ICC World Cup. Pakistan became world champions in 1992 winning the ICC World Cup. But even then, they lost to India in the Group matches! While this is something that the Indian cricket fans have been considering a boon, we never know when the men in green can turn the tide. Both the teams being “arch rivals” create a war-like atmosphere whenever they are on the ground. The teams have their fans cheering for them and roaring like lions when it comes to a match against each other. This is probably why it was pretty difficult for the players when they played at each other’s home grounds in the past.

So far in the ICC World Cup 2019, India is way ahead of Pakistan according to their form and the stats. But we also need to remember that we lost pretty bad against them during the ICC Champions Trophy Finals recently. This might be a power booster for the Pakistani team on Sunday. While the match may be won by whoever plays better, it’s clear that the Pakistani media isn’t playing it cool. In the ad, as they take the teacup from Abhinandan’s look-alike and celebrate the slogan “let’s bring the cup home”, we can’t stop but pray that “it’s the only cup y’all are gonna get!”

We agree the two countries have enough reason to give each other the rough edge of the tongue, but hitting the weak spot of any nation in the name of sportsmanship is a low blow. This was a rather distasteful move. Full marks to Pakistan for cutting off the nose to spite the face. Well, only the match on June 16th can tell which country has the last laugh.

What do you think of this ad? Who are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments below.

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