T20 blockbuster hits close to home in Roxburgh Park

It’s one of the world’s great sporting rivalries – and it’s coming to Melbourne.

The match between India and Pakistan sold out in minutes.

It’s one of the blockbuster games being held in Victoria as part of the T20 cricket world cup.

In Melbourne there are established Indian and Pakistani communities who field teams in local competitions, like M4 in Clayton and Roxburgh Park Cricket Club, whose players and coaches come from a range of backgrounds.

Raaz Verma says he’ll be backing the Men in Blue. “I’m from India so I’m going to support my team – it’s going to be good fun,” he says.

His team mate Kazim Raza, who is of Pakistani background, points to the range of nationalities represented at Roxburgh Park.

“We all play together – Pakistani, Indian, Bangladesh, Sri Lankan…all communities,” he says.

“We are friends here in the club, but we are opponents on the ground.”

“It doesn’t happen every day – so enjoy the show,” batsman Waseem Ahmed adds.

Coach Asif says if he’s not able to secure any unwanted tickets, his family will watch from home while “making lots of dua (prayers) for Pakistan!”

In politics and on the pitch Pakistan and India are archenemies, but at a grassroots level in clubs across Melbourne players from both countries are on the same side – at least for now.

As Roxburgh Park’s Amir Javed explains, “On the ground or when practicing we play together, we play for each other, we are friends.”