Sometimes, sports will bring the kind of drama that stay in our mind for a long time. And as I start this article to refresh our memories with the matches that has been played in Toronto, Canada so far, let me do it with something unforgettable that happened.
Its been nearly 9 years since that day (14th September 1997) when Pakistan's Injamam-ul-haq crossed boundary lines, went up the spectators stands to have a
fight with some fans. Its still not known why Injamam did what he did, but one thing is for sure - it was not momentous.
TV replays showed that Pakistani 12th man (16 years old Hasan Raja) came from the dressing room, with a bat, while Indian batting was going on and Injamam was fielding at the slips. The Raza waited for the final two balls of the over to be bowled and then Injamam took that bat before climbing up the stands for a final settlement.
Some said that spectator was taunting Injamam-ul-haq as “Fat Potato” while he was batting and continued to hurt his feelings when Indian chase started. Inzamam, who is usually cool headed, lost his patience that afternoon and went for a fight with the spectator at Toronto Cricket Ground in Canada.
Injamam later pleaded that he was not trying to fight with the spectator but wanted to ask him why he was abusing him, but that was enough for
ICC officials to ban him for two one day internationals. The match was stopped for 37 minutes after the incident. Not many people know this, so let me add that that spectator, involved in some rough talks with Injamam that day is known by the name of - Shiv Kumar Thind. He was 29 years old then and used to be a Etobicoke in Toronto. Now where he is, well, that's anyone's guess..
But cricket in Toronto is not only about that Injamam incident. Its also about Sourav Ganguly too, who proved to be a huge all rounder for Indian team when the second Sahara Cup started in September 1997. In that series of 5 matches, Sourav Ganguly's performance speak for itself = 222 runs at an average of 55.50 and 15 wickets at an average of 10.66. No wonder, Ganguly won the man of the series award then and India sealed the
This was the second successive 5 ODI matches series in Toronto, and having lost the first series 2-3 in 1996, India came back strongly. And when the third installment of this Sahara Cup started, result was totally opposite – Pakistan 4 and India 1. This time Sourav Ganguly was the captain of shaking Indian team and lots of inexperienced players in Indian team didn't help the cause.
There was a fourth Sahara Cup between India and Pakistan scheduled at Toronto Canada again in September 1999 but the tension between the two countries mounted. Result – West Indies joined in as a mediator and Indian team played three ODI matches against them before Pakistan did the same. In that 3 match
series against West Indies at Toronto, India won 2-1 (Chris Gayle made his debut) and then Pakistan won 3-0. So it can be safely said that for West Indies,
Toronto is not a happy cricket place, but for India, its bit of a mix bag. Sometimes they have played really good cricket there, but at times, they have looked totally out of sorts.