Every year millions of people do billions of searches (to find information about products, people, or find educational material) on Google. Yes, it is the most popular search engine among all and it is a very potent tool. Just like India, a lot of people from Pakistan are also active on various digital platforms doing a lot of online queries. Google has come out with its annual ‘Year in Search’ report which highlights the top searches that Pakistanis been Googling in 2018.
The search trend has thrown up some interesting trends. The most significant is that seven of the top 10 Pakistani trends were sports related. The most significant trend is of Pakistanis searching for India-Pakistan match – the mother of all contests in world cricket. So, instead of political happenings, Pakistanis looked for Asia Cup, the PSL and, the FIFA World Cup.
It must be remembered that India is too strong for Pakistan when it comes to ICC tournaments across all formats. India won 6 out of 6 matches against Pakistan in the World Cup, 5 out of 5 in the World Twenty20 (including a bowl-out after a tie) and 2 out of 5 in the Champions Trophy – 13 out of 15 games so far!
So what do this trend of Pakistanis searching for sports indicate?
Maybe our neighbours want to get a Mauka (chance) to burst crackers, which has been so far a distant dream. There is a saying: to be the best, you have to beat the best. But how do you beat the best when you don’t even play them?
Now coming to the point, here is what Pakistanis searched during 2018:
#7 Pakistan versus India
When it comes to cricket, nothing can beat a contest between arch-rivals India and Pakistan. Cricket fans in both nations will not take a loss from the neighbours, and that is where it becomes such a big thing. Pakistani audiences were glued to their TV during the Asia Cup Clash in September. India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by a massive nine-wicket in the Super Four clash of the Asia Cup. Thus, India won both the clashes against Pakistan.
#6 PTV sports
PTV Sports, Pakistan’s premier sports channel, broadcasts live cricket, football, hockey, tennis, and other domestic and international sports event. It is a state-owned channel and has broadcasting rights for many national and international sporting events in which Pakistani sports personalities participate.
#5 Brisbane Asia Cup
This particular search makes little sense as it’s an Asia Cup query and has nothing do with Australian city of Brisbane. This year’s Asia Cup was played in a 50-over format in the UAE and included India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, and Afghanistan. It is a mystery why Pakistanis searched about this.
#4 PSL 2018
The third season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was played in UAE but it has failed miserably to attract any crowds and replicate the success of India’s cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). Fans compared the empty stadium in PSL with IPL, giving rise to many funny memes and jokes. From stands to the cheerleaders, no one was spared.
#3 Pakistan vs Australia
Shaped like a biscuit, the trophy for the Pakistan-Australia T20 series was talked about on social media. The trophy was unveiled by the Pakistan Cricket Board. No doubt then this keyword was the third most searched term on Google in Pakistan.
#2 FIFA World Cup
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia was broadcast live in every territory around the world from June 14 June to July 15 this year. Pakistan was one of the countries watching FIFA. As per official estimates, a total of 3.572 billion viewers – more than half of the global population aged four and over – tuned in to world football’s ultimate competition.
#1 Pakistan vs New Zealand
The query ‘Pakistan vs New Zealand’ was the most searched item in Pakistan because of the volume of their clashes. In January this year, Pakistan toured New Zealand and played 5 ODIs and three T20s. New Zealand won the ODI series 5-0, their second ever 5-0 bilateral series win. Pakistan won the T20I series 2–1. The New Zealand tour of Pakistan, in the UAE, comprised of three T20Is, three ODIs and three Test matches held from October 31 to December 7, 2018.
If one can remember, during the 2018 Commonwealth Games held at Gold Coast, Australia (from April 4 to April 15), 56 Pakistani athletes took part in 10 different sports. Thanks to the Wrestling contingent, Pakistan finished 24th on the medal table (out of a list of 71 countries). It is really surprising to see so much interest in sports from a country which often fails to perform at a global level.