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Mother of all matches

This refers to the many reports and letters on the so-called “cricket diplomacy” of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. His invitation to Pakistan leaders to watch the semi-finals between India and Pakistan at Mohali is, no doubt, a step in the right direction. What baffles me is the way in which the media have handled the issue. Whether the occasion will indeed signal the beginning of bilateral talks or the move is only a way of diverting the nation's attention away from the innumerable scams that have clouded the UPA government will become clear once the talks start. Why can't we wait and watch the talks unfold “literally?” Why not just enjoy the World Cup semi-final? Media sensationalism and the frequent use of the term “cricket diplomacy” will only bring pressure on both sides.

Sneha Bhattacharjee,

New Delhi

Dr. Singh's cordial invitation and its acceptance by Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani could not have come at a better time. The gesture is a big step forward, especially when the relationship between the two countries has been anything but good post-26/11. One hopes the move will signal the dawn of a new era in India-Pakistan ties. It's pertinent to quote George Bernard Shaw: “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.”

K.G. Koru Kuttan Nair,


Sports between India and Pakistan, especially cricket and hockey, assume the nature of a war between the two nations, with people demanding a win at any cost and creating more animosity and hatred. The announcement by Pakistan's Punjab Chief Minister that each member of the Pakistani team will be given 25 acres of land if it wins the match against India is hardly sportive. Heavens will not fall if a game of cricket is lost.

K.M. Lakshmana Rao,


It was typical of the genteel Dr. Singh to invite his Pakistani counterpart to witness what is probably the most intense match of the World Cup. A sincere give-and-take — over fishermen's rights, travel and trade concessions, exchange of prisoners, or even a cricket match played in the right spirit — will go a long way in keeping the countries engaged. I hope at least some Pakistanis feel the way I do.

J.S. Acharya,

Tyne and Wear, England

The presence of the two Prime Ministers at Mohali to see the much-hyped match between India and Pakistan will certainly enhance the attraction of the event. Hyping an event that deserves hype is welcome. But trying to make a win or loss an issue is not. Unlike a few newspapers, the highly commercial electronic media are least bothered about the sensitivities of the issue. I appeal to them to please exercise restraint.

Pramod Gouri,


Today, India and Pakistan will play the semi-final. They are not fighting a war. Both teams are equally strong and will do their best to reach the finals. Sportsman spirit should guide them. Winning and losing are part of the game. A lot of tension has been built up around Mohali. Let us please understand that we have not reached the end of the world.

S.N. Kulkarni,


As the situation stands, there is no hope of the existing trend in India-Pakistan relationship being reversed by Mr. Gilani's visit. The need of the hour is to sort out the long-standing issues in a spirit of give and take.

Both countries will do well to remember that true friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo the shocks of adversity before it is entitled appellation.

Kelath Gopakumar Menon,


With the mother of the World Cup match set to begin, let us focus on cricket as a sport, not as an occasion for bilateral talks. Let us view Dr. Singh's invitation to the Pakistani establishment as a gesture of sportsmanship, not as a means to bring Pakistan to the negotiating table.

All talk of “cricket diplomacy” is meaningless. One can have a sensible dialogue with Pakistan only when it gives up its support for terrorism.

Lillian Rodgers,


Dr. Singh should be lauded for initiating a bold step and extending a good gesture. We should feel proud to have a person as able and intelligent as Dr. Singh as our Prime Minister who, apart from being a visionary and an able economist, has made a positive move in the interest of improving relations between the two neighbours.

Harpreet Sandhu,


The last few days have seen frenzy in the media with jingoism at its worst. Almost all leading television channels have been on overdrive, projecting the semi-final clash between India and Pakistan as some sort of a war. Should there be any trouble in the event of India losing, the media should be held responsible

Millions of passionate and ardent cricket lovers like me believe that this is just a game. Given the rivalry, competitiveness, the occasion — World Cup semi-final — and the fact that India peaked at the right time and Pakistan put up a grand show to enter the semi-final, we are in for a cracker of a match.

S. Ram,


Let's watch today's semi-final like a game, not treat it as a pitched battle. One of the teams is bound to lose. We should enjoy the cricket match for the sheer joy it holds. Whenever cricket is played between India and Pakistan, people become serious and emotional.

Let us remember that sport is meant for enjoyment, not for creating depression and frustration. Take it easy. At the same time, I wish India wins the semi-final. And the final.

Mohd Shahid,

New Delhi

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