`Indo-Pak cricket: Emotions high, passions rising’

March 29th, 2011 - 12:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Islamabad, March 29 (IANS) “Emotions are high, passions are rising” in Pakistan and India, thanks to the crucial World Cup semi-final match between the two countries, a Pakistani daily said Tuesday.

The semi-final clash will take place at Mohali in India’s Punjab state March 30 and the explosive cricketing action will be witnessed by prime ministers of both countries.

An editorial Tuesday in the Daily Times titled “Cricket mania and borderline hysteria” said: “On both sides of Wagah, emotions are high, passions are rising and the people of subcontinent want their respective side to win. The pressure on both teams is immensely high.”

“Tomorrow’s match will surely give an adrenaline rush to millions of cricket fans around the globe. The team that plays better on the day will win the game. Cricket cannot get better than this.”

Describing Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s invitation to his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari as a welcome move, the editorial said, “This is cricket diplomacy at its very best”.

It pointed out that at a time when the relationship between India and Pakistan is at “a low after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, (Manmohan) Singh’s hand of friendship must be appreciated”.

“This is not to say that cricket diplomacy will lead to some big breakthrough but at least it will create a good environment for both countries.”

Saying that the semi-final Wednesday will be “an exciting one for sure”, the editorial said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik has added “his two cents to this pressure, which quite frankly our cricket team could have done without”.

It referred to Malik’s warning to the Pakistan cricket team not to do match-fixing, which has kicked up a storm in the country.

Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi did not sound too happy with this statement.

“Afridi is right on the mark here. Did our interior minister not realise what sort of pressure this can put on the team and how demoralising it can be, that too before such an important match?”

On the talks between Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and and Pakistan Interior Secretary Chaudhary Qamar Zaman who met Monday for the first round in Delhi, it said: “The talks went relatively well as can be seen by the positive statements made by both Indian and Pakistani interior secretaries”.

“It is hoped that the dialogue process between India and Pakistan will not derail again as it has only strengthened the hardliners and not helped the two neighbouring countries at all.”

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