A cricket match between India and Pakistan is undoubtedly one of the most important sporting attractions not only in Asia but also across the world. There are innumerable unique initiatives created by the fans, for the fans as they ardently wait for the action to begin in the 22 yards.
Social media in recent years has played a significant role in doubling the hype surrounding these matches with cricket fans around the world joining the chorus of the countdown to the start. ICC World T20 2016 is no different.
The arch-rivals of cricket -- India and Pakistan -- get set to take on each other Saturday in both the men's and the women's categories. While MS Dhoni's men take on Shahid Afridi's men at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Mithali Raj's women take on Sana Mir's women at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, making it a Super Saturday.
As expected, fans on Facebook and Twitter from both the sides of the border have been buzzing and with every passing hour, the excitement increases; so does the amount of tweets of support for their respective nation. A unique initiative on Facebook has meanwhile bowled over the social media website's co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
With the start of the ICC World T20 2016 this month, Facebook introduced a "profile pic frame" feature where fans from all the participating countries can add their profile pic to one of the customised country badges available, from England and Australia to West Indies and Afghanistan.
Fans from India and Pakistan however took it to the next level. Like the customary swapping of jerseys we get to witness after every football match, Pakistani cricket fans are putting their profile pic in the customised India team frame, and the Indian fans are also following suit, using the hashtag #ProfilesForPeace.
"When we designed the profile frames feature, we just wanted to help people show support for their favorite teams or a cause they believe in. But this story shows that the more connected we are, the more we realize that what unites us is more important than what divides us," Zuckerberg wrote on facebook.
The initiative was a much-needed one after what transpired right from the start of 2016 ahead of the India vs Pakistan match in India. With Himachal Pradesh government backing out from hosting the game at Dharmasala in the last minute to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sending security teams to India before giving a green signal to the Pakistan cricket team to travel in India, there were a plethora of political challenges ahead of the game.
But now, since everything is kind of done and dusted, we can fully focus on the cricket match(es), Saturday.
Fans from both the nations have also showed their sign of support for both countries and they have unanimously given out a strong message of peace. The interesting thing is not only the internet-savvy youngsters but men and women who are in their 30s and 40s are also playing a major role in this social media movement.
Mumbai-based artist Ram Subramanian, 37, added the Pakistan frame along with his profile pic on facebook, hoping for an ease in tensions between the two nations. "India and Pakistan need to have a conversation. How long are they going to keep this (tension) going?" Subramanium was quoted by the AFP.
Pakistani lawyer Ehsanullah Shah also added the Indian frame along with his profile pic on facebook, and stressed the need for peace between the two nations. "I have a lot of friends who're Indians, I love them to bits, and I'm all for peace between us as countries," the 30-year-old said.