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Thursday, February 02, 2006 

Cricket Diplomacy - End of Niceties?

Cut to 2003: An Indian team, after a long break from bilateral cricketing ties, goes to Pakistan to a warm reception, packed stands, and wildly cheering audiences. The players too display on field etiquette towards each other. The crowds hold up banners of “Vaat lag gayi, Mamu!!” to Balaji hitting their bowlers for sixes. Everybody talks about benefits of Indo-Pak friendship.

Cut to 2006: Another Indian team goes to Pakistan, meets cold responses, unpleasant vibes, and almost empty stands. At Faislabad, half the tickets are given away free to attract crowds. There is on-field unpleasantness, and no reports of what is happening off the field. The politicians are virtually missing from the scene, so are the benefits of the peace process. The Indian coach, on the verge of losing a test match, suddenly remembers that Shoaib’s bowling action is flawed (which, for a long time has been more than apparent), leading to some more ill-will.

Is this the end of cricket diplomacy? Where has all the good will disappeared? What happened to the camaraderie between the players? If that series was a sign of improving Indo –Pak relations, was this series an indication of the deterioration setting in again?

The answer for the last question is an emphatic NO! With the Pakistani General himself claiming that relations with India have never been better, the peace process is still on. The only thing missing is the hype, and that’s a good thing. A hyped summit is constantly under the media scanner and there is public pressure for fast results. A slow and steady peace process is the needed, so that results need not be forced, but can take their own time.

Hey! you are quite a regular blogger! Btw, the first link on your blog's sidebar is broken - I think you need to append .htm to it.

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