Dancing to deep drum beats and chanting lyrics, crowds at the men’s T20 World Cup have been regularly on their feet as popular songs from Pakistan and India play through the stadium.
The songs were selected after the International Cricket Council approached the two sides’ international fan groups, called SQUADS, to prepare song lists ahead of Australia hosting the 2022 world cup.
Former Australian cricket captain Lisa Sthalekar, now a commentator, says the atmosphere among fans when Pakistan or India played surprised many of her peers in the media.
“There’s a beat to that kind of music that just gets you up and makes you want to dance,” Sthalekar said. “We just had a constant smile on our faces while we were doing the broadcast. You can’t help but get swept away with the passion and the emotion that these [fans] have for their cricket.
“When the crowds rose, we just stayed quiet. Why not let our listeners soak up what we were soaking up as well?”
Here are some of the top songs you’ve been hearing at the cricket:
Dil Dil Pakistan
This soft yet powerful melody is seen as an unofficial second national anthem in Pakistan. Rock and pop band Vital Signs released the song in 1987, with the Urdu lyrics “dil dil Pakistan, jaan jaan Pakistan” directly translating to “heart heart Pakistan, life life Pakistan”. Singer Junaid Jamshed later died in a plane crash in 2016. The song is seen as patriotic and often plays on Pakistan’s Independence Day.
Irfan Hashmi, who helped organise the Pakistani fan base ahead of the T20, said the song had “huge sentiments” for not just cricket fans but every Pakistani. “Even non-Pakistani people were singing that song,” Hashmi said of crowds at the T20. “It’s as if you’re in a soccer game in Europe and the chorus is going. It was very special.”
Sufi-rock band Junoon released this song in 1996 which soon became patriotic to listeners and – especially cricket fans, as its music video was a tribute to the Pakistan national cricket team. The song quickly became synonymous with the 1996 Cricket World Cup, which Pakistan partially hosted.
Hashmi says it still gets crowds amped up today, and is played when wickets fall for the opposing side: “[It makes you feel] pumped up, ready to fight, do anything.”
Television audiences watching the T20 in Pakistan are regularly hearing this 2002 party song by Abrar-ul-Haq, and it is also featuring on playlists at the MCG and SCG.
Hashmi said this fast tempo song had played at the Dubai Men’s T20 World Cup last year, and was a staple at Pakistani Super League (PSL) games. “A person can’t sit when this song starts. The tune is so energetic, any person it makes them move.”
Another song blasting across Australian stadiums during Pakistan matches is Groove Mera, the official anthem of the 2021 Pakistan Super League. This song, a work from Aima Baig, Naseebo Lal, and Young Stunners, is one for cricket fans, Hashmi says.
“This song is always on when PSL is on,” he said. “As a cricket fan there is an attachment to the song belonging to the cricket world in Pakistan.”
Chak De! India
The 2007 Hindi sports film Chak De! India, starring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, is about the nation’s women’s hockey team defeating Australia in the world cup. The movie follows a side considered an underdog, both at home and abroad, doing everything it takes to win. The title song has since become an anthem for sports in the nation, and is often played when India needs to lift the game.
The South Australian founder of global network Fans India, Rajul Sharma, said the song’s title was akin to a familiar Australian chant. “This is the Indian version of c’mon India, c’mon,” he said. “Nowadays when we play Chak De! India in the stadium it’s about motivating any Indian team or any team associated with India.”
Another song to emerge from Bollywood, Lehra Do features in the 2021 movie 83. The Hindi movie is about India’s 1983 world cup-winning cricket side. The song features at the end of the movie when India wins the world cup and its title translates to “wave it” referring to the act of waving a flag.
“It was a very emotional movie, a lot of people were reliving the moment,” Sharma said. “They usually play this song after India’s victory.”
Sharma has also written the lyrics to a song dedicated to this world cup, which has played two or three times during each match with India. India Jeetega – translating to “we’ll win” – is the third song the Fans India group has written for the International Cricket Council, after also producing a song for the women’s 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, and for the 2019 50-over ICC World Cup in England.
Sharma said it was more common for songs popularised by Bollywood to become sports anthems as they were the most well known in the subcontinent.
“I’m a cybersecurity architect full time, so everything I do is just for passion,” Sharma said. “We have a composer back in India. We recorded the whole song in different parts of Adelaide.”
Source : SMH