Pakistan v Nepal from Moorhead to Multan: A Journey of Friendship and Fervour

Picture this: a chilly midnight in Moorhead, a tiny university town near Fargo. Amidst the freezing air, two cricket fanatics — me and my Pakistani roommate, Shehzad — walk to the end of 20th Street just off campus to a house full of friends from Nepal. Our connection with these guys? Cricket. We had known each other through an indoor tape ball cricket tournament we played together.

It was the turn of the millennium; TV apps and online streaming weren’t a thing back then. These guys from Nepal were our cricket saviours, the only ones in the area with Direct TV and video on demand available to watch Pakistan vs India 2004 Test series. I remember the first Test was in Multan. Sehwag smashed a triple ton and Tendulkar 194 to stamp their authority on the game. India won the match by an innings and also the series 2-1.

Even though we had great respect for each other, there were moments when we had tempers flared during this series as all of these guys were rooting for India. That’s the nature of this encounter, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. People from Pakistan and India living abroad will relate: no matter how close you are with each other, this game will always get your emotions out of control.

Fast-forward to 2023. Two decades later, Asia Cup is being co-hosted in Pakistan. The venue for the first game was Multan where Nepal faced Pakistan head to head for the first time. I have been in touch with these guys on and off, mostly through Facebook. As the national anthem of Nepal was being played, I dropped a one-liner message about the clash to Pawan Adhikari, now living in Houston, Texas. His response, I can feel, triggered a cascade of emotions for him just like it did for me. Memories flood in of chai-fuelled nights, banter, and heated arguments at his apartment.

This particular game in Multan seemed to create a nostalgia that’s etched in our memories. For me this wasn’t just a game where Pakistan was playing a minnow, it was a symphony of emotions that cricket had orchestrated two decades ago. This memory and this game flung the door open to tomorrow, to the possibility of sitting with old mates, Pawan, Neeraj, Prajowl, and Shehzad; watching Nepal and Pakistan take on the world in the West Indies and Americas next year.

From that viral image of a packed cricket ground in Katmandu of their famous victory, Nepal’s cricketing journey is a tale of resilience, a narrative that echoed the nation’s spirit, much like conquering the Everest.

In a world often divided, cricket emerges as the unifier, a magical thread that weaves tales transcending time zones and cultures. From Moorhead’s chilly cold streets to Multan’s scorching heat, this is more than just a cricket story; it’s a tale of friendships woven by cricket’s tapestry. It’s a reminder that amidst the chaos, there’s a language we all speak, a language that unites us, This is why we love this game.