Editorial : Let`s enjoy the game - Wednesday 30th March 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/30/lets-enjoy-the-game.html

THE hype is understandable given that we are feverishly anticipating a major sporting contest between traditional foes. Two extremely capable sides brimming with confidence and eager on a passionate level to outplay the opposition will face off today and it is expected that neither will die wondering. Hopefully the World Cup semi-final in Mohali will be fought tooth and nail but as a cricket match, not an encounter between enemies. Pakistan versus India, on any level, is always big news. And when cricket enters the equation, both spirits and expectations soar among sports lovers on either side of Wagah. That said, and this can’t be repeated enough, victory or loss cannot be allowed to sour a relationship that is only beginning to burgeon again after a long, and at times hostile, stalemate. It’s a cricket match. Repeat: it’s a cricket match. The interior minister, who made some wholly unnecessary comments the other day, should keep that in mind as well.
Spare a thought too for how well we have done despite all the setbacks of recent years: leadership issues, security concerns and the dark shadow of corruption that has haunted the side all too often. At this stage, at least in terms of how we should receive our team when it comes home, it doesn’t really matter whether we win or lose today. Of course victory is the desired outcome for any side and nation, be it Pakistan or India. But making the semi-finals of the World Cup is no mean achievement, especially for a team that has been licking its wounds and hoping against hope for resurrection. Maybe we will beat India, reach the final and win that too. But it ought to be remembered that Pakistan managed to do something that cricketing powerhouses like Australia and South Africa could not. Under Afridi, ours appears to be a team on the rise and it should not be scorned for a setback here and there.
The prime ministers of Pakistan and India will be watching the match today, and it is likely that they will primarily be talking cricket. That will be in keeping with the spirit of the occasion. But sharing a joke and jointly lauding a catch or shot can only be beneficial on a wider level. It is perhaps time to reflect on all the things the two countries have in common — a passion for cricket being just one such indulgence — and shelve our differences so that both nations can move forward. So well done Pakistan and well done India. May you produce your best today.

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