Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why Ireland is suddenly fascinating in Pakistan

For a quick glimpse at the weirdness of modernity, see Google's data for the popularity of the search term "Ireland" in Pakistan over the last 12 months:

The key to this sudden fascination with Ireland lies neither in some new trade deal nor a shift in foreign policy. Here, instead is a hint: a Google graph showing the popularity of the search term "cricket" in Ireland!

Cricket, a sport most Irish people don't understand, let alone follow, was plunged into the news in Ireland days ago when the Irish team defeated England. Unlike India and Pakistan, where cricket is hugely popular, cricket in Ireland became strangely associated with the old Anglo-Irish Protestant elite, despised by Irish nationalists. For years it was ignored, sneered at sometimes as an elitist sport of the former conquerers, often by nationalists who saw no contradiction in cheerfully supporting English football teams.

So Ireland's unexpected victory against England brought the sport suddenly to attention in Ireland, and brought the country suddenly to attention to South Asians. The following day I woke to emails from several Indians and Pakistanis, congratulating me as the only Irish person they know!

2 comments:

  1. Although as a cricket match in itself, it was one of the best i had ever seen

    England though are missing one of their top batsmen- Former Ireland player Eoin Morgan.

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  2. I'll have to take your word for it Rohan! :)

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