Whitewash. An Indian fan hates to hear this word these days. But in the neighbouring Pakistan, the country's cricket followers are jubilating at the very mention of that. The moods could not have been so different in the two countries where cricket brings the whole nation together.
While India is still reeling under the twin whitewashes suffered on foreign trips of England and Australia, Pakistan have a rare clean sweep of Test series after all the turmoil they went through in the past one year or so.
On February 6, Pakistan achieved a historic 3-0 Test whitewash over England in Dubai. With no team willing to travel to Pakistan due to security reasons, Pakistan are forced to make United Arab Emirates their home to host cricket matches.
Pakistan's victory was achieved through team work and ably led by captain Misbah-ul-Haq. To vanquish the number one Test team in this manner holds a special place in the annals of Pakistan cricket.
It is this same England outfit, under Andrew Strauss, that had thrashed India 4-0 to catapult to the top position in the ICC rankings. In 2011, India had gone to England as the top ranked Test team but played like a bunch of novices against a bowling attack which not only swung the ball but also the fortunes of the home team.
More misery followed for MS Dhoni and his men when they recently hit nadir in Australia for their second successive whitewash abroad. On that day, January 28, when India were handed a humiliating 4-0 loss by Michael Clarke's legion in Adelaide, Pakistan won their Test rubber against England. What a contrast in fortunes of the neighbours.
Last year was a forgettable one for Pakistan after their cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif were found guilty in spot-fixing charges and were handed jail terms. It was one of the worst phases for any cricket team.
It is now time for Pakistan to erase those spot-fixing memories and replace them with the "Desert Success" which only few of their expatriates could savour at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Sure, the cricketers and their fans back home would have been rued the fact that it did not happen in Pakistan.
Even as Pakistan flies high on a whitewash, India are trying to lift themselves after being on the other end of a whitewash.