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Cricket is no exception

New Delhi, Thu, 18 Dec 2008 Deepak Mohanty

Amid escalating tension between India and Pakistan after the last month Mumbai terror attacks, the future cricketing ties between both the countries is under shadow. India has claimed the involvement of Pakistani “elements” in the dastardly act which took away lives of over 180 and left double the number injured, it is natural for the victim to opt the extreme.

Lately there was indication from Indian High Commission and some former players over the disinclination of India to play the upcoming cricket series against Pakistan even at a neutral venue. Evidently, it is no more confined to cricket or say, ‘mixing sports with politics’ but probably a last attempt of India to put enough pressure on Pakistan diplomatically to act on.

No doubt, the relation between both the cricketing strongholds is at the most dire state considering the height of the recent incident but at the same Indian can’t afford to push its national pride to one side when the nation is yet to develop the passion to play in Pakistan. As said by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, ‘a democratic government can’t be indifferent to public mood.’

Security, certainly, isn’t the sole issue or excuse; moreover, it is the Pakistan government’s approach in the aftermath of 'Mumbai mayhem' that has made it impossible to play cricket at any level with Pakistan until and unless there comes a solid stand on the issue of ‘cross border terrorism’. Mere continuing the sporting relation is no way going to heal the wounds of common man who have lost their near and dear ones in that incident of horror.

Again one shouldn’t blame India while calling the resume of English team’s tour to India a ‘nice gesture’. Here there is no such straight fight; it’s a chance to give a strong answer to terror, while the likely abolition of the present tour is only to win over the unyielding approach of Pak establishment to dismantle the terror apparatus based in Pakistan soil i.e. the root of this strained diplomatic relations between the two arch-rival countries.

Normalisation of relation is essential and possible, but only through a concerted effort from both sides. Sports and Cricket in particular has been a true ambassador and peacemaker in the subcontinent, however, the very time speaks the other way at least awaiting a positive statement.

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