India vs Pakistan: New York fixture in 1989 between sides prompted 'gravest crisis'

The players taking part in the trilogy of India v Pakistan fixtures in the US pocketed $2,000 apiece for taking part.

This was an era of cricket when players in the game frequently struggled to make serious money from the game.

On previous trips to the United States during this time India’s players stayed in the homes of expat families.

Indeed, it was not unheard of for players to have to scrub their own whites with household bleach to get them clean between matches.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had signed off the players visiting the US on a “holiday” but forbid them from playing cricket.

India had gone to the US and Canada after a chastening tour of the West Indies where they had lost a four-match Test series 3-0 and suffered a 5-0 whitewash in the ODIs which seemingly irked the BCCI.

On their return to India the board banned Vengsarkar, Dev, Shastri, Azharuddin, Kiran More and Arun Lal for a year with the rest of India players involved issued with fines.

It was front page news and Indian cricket writer R Mohan called it “cricket’s gravest crisis” in the country at the time.

However, following protests, a newspaper campaign and a three-month court battle the decision was overturned.

“We did have a few issues after playing those games in the United States,” Shastri said, with a chuckle.

“We were supposed to be banned for a year but it didn’t happen like that. So all’s well that ends well.”

By contrast Pakistan’s players encountered no problems whatsoever.

“Imran was 10 in one in those days,” Ramiz said. “He was the board, he was the chairman of selectors, he was the captain so we had no issues with playing in the US.”

On Sunday at 15:30 BST – at a dazzling 32,000-capacity stadium in New York costing $32m – the two countries will play out the latest instalment of their rivalry on US soil.

“I recall in 1989 there were six or seven Americans at the game,” Ramiz added. “All of them were security guards!”

New York’s India v Pakistan contest in 2024 should feature quite a few more.

You can follow the match with live TMS commentary on BBC Sounds from 15:15 BST and text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

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