India vs Pakistan: Historic 1989 New York Match Led to ‘Cricket’s Gravest Crisis’

In May 1989, the Downing Stadium in New York hosted a historic fixture between cricketing giants India and Pakistan, marking the first meeting between the two nations in the Americas. The match, part of a series of three exhibition games, saw a crowd of 15,000 passionate fans in attendance, including many from the South Asian communities in Queens.

Led by Imran Khan, Pakistan showcased players like Javed Miandad and Saleem Malik, while India, captained by Dilip Vengsarkar, featured stars like Kapil Dev and Mohammad Azharuddin. Despite the lack of a proper scoreboard and amateur scorers, the match was a thrilling encounter, with India emerging victorious.

The series continued in Toronto and Los Angeles, with Pakistan eventually claiming the inaugural North American Cup. Players from both teams received $2,000 each for their participation, highlighting the financial struggles faced by cricketers during that era.

The matches in the US sparked controversy in India, leading to bans and fines for several players. However, after protests and legal battles, the decisions were overturned, bringing an end to what was dubbed as “cricket’s gravest crisis” in the country at the time.

Fast forward to 2024, and the rivalry continues as India and Pakistan gear up to face each other in New York once again. With a state-of-the-art stadium and increased interest in the game, the upcoming match promises to be a spectacle, attracting a diverse audience including American fans.

Stay tuned for live coverage of the match on BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website, as the age-old cricketing rivalry takes center stage in the bustling city of New York.