Get close through Cricket
STRENGTHEN BONDS THROUGH SPORTS
THE MESSAGE WE GET FROM THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED WORLD CUP, WRITES J.H.RESHI
No one expected that the cricket world cup 2011 would generate so much of enthusiasm and interest as it did. Pakistan and New Zealand, to begin with, were not expected to do so well that they would make it to the semi-finals. Cricket giants like Australia, South Africa and England have surprisingly been left behind. Cricket is actually an unpredictable game. You never know whose fortunes are likely to
blossom and who is going to lose. Nor can you for certain make it out that as to which bowler will be able to get the wickets or which batsman can make the runs you require to win. Sri Lankan players are no doubt worriers in playing a game of cricket so no wonder they ultimately managed to reach to play World Cup final with India.
They also succeeded in building a formidable score and leave a hard target for India to achieve. But India with its overwhelming crowd support of thousands of Indian supporters was able to make it to the top despite of suffering of some initial set backs. They have excelled in every department of the game right from the word go. They all along batted well, their bowlers were focused and fielding was superb so they managed to win the world cup 2011 after a gap of 28 years when Kapil Dev was at the helm of affairs. For Pakistani team it was a good opportunity to come clean on frequent allegations of matches fixing. They did play quite few good games and managed to beat some the top cricketing stalwarts to reach to the semi-final but in the end they were lacking the kind of will you need to win a game of cricket. Cricket by its very nature is team work and individuals may sometimes play a pivotal role in wining a match but that can happen occasionally and not too frequently. But it is ultimately the team effort that matters. Bowling of Omar Gull who had otherwise bowled well throughout the tournament was a complete disaster. Not only he could not take the wickets, he ought to have but he could not stop Indian players from making runs as freely as possible. Hafeez on other hand did manage to stay on the wickets for long but in one day cricket that is not what you have to
do. You have to make runs as fast as you can. Geof Bycot and Miandad were great cricketers as far test cricket was concerned but for one day cricket you need batsmen like Richards and Zahir Abbass. As if all that was not enough a keeper like Kamran Akmal dropped 3 to 4 catches, one that of Sachin Tendulkar. When you miss a chance like that then no one needs to tell you at what cost. On the other hand India not only bated well but they bowled and fielded extremely well both in their matches as against Pakistan and as well as Shri Lanka. Yuraj came to
be rightly declared as best player of the tournament as he did a commendable job in the field of batting and as well as bowling. Though it was ultimately it was their captain Doni who led them to a glorious victory in the history of cricket.
As and when it became amply clear that a semi final is likely to take place between India and Pakistan. Behind the scene diplomacy picked up at an amazingly high speed and the Indian Prime Minster lost no time in extending an invitation to President and Prime Minster of Pakistan to visit India to watch the match. Pakistan on their part readily agreed to send their Prime Minster to Maholi to watch the two teams in action. A small group of cricket fans from Pakistan also managed to see this “Maha Muqabla” but owning to visa restrictions and formalities not very many of them could cross over to enjoy this game live. These matches came to be played in as many as three countries that is India, Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka but no match could be played in Pakistan for security reasons. Pakistan has huge base of cricket fans particularly when they are pitted against their arch rival India. It is like a war when it comes to these two countries playing as against each other. Kashmiris too get involved in this in a big way. Earlier on as well international community has tried to persuade the two countries to utilise this to defuse tension between the two countries particularly when they were about to lock horns with each other so firstly General Zia ul Haq and then Parvez Musharaf came to India to watch their players in action.
Cricket of late has become very popular in the sub-continent. Apart from India, Pakistan, Shri Lanka and Bagladesh play a lot of cricket almost around the year. A lot of money is involved in this game and other people like firm actors and actresses have bought teams and players at very high cost and use it as a source of recreation for themselves and the cricket lovers around the world. In the whole of Europe we have only one country which plays by heart that is England. Actually this is the place where this game was born and belongs to otherwise soccer is very popular in that region. While as in USA cricket and soccer and cricket have no takers at all. They like sports like boxing, basket ball and base ball and that is all. When soccer is played in Europe, literally thousands of soccer fans and supporters cross over to other countries wherever these games are played because there are no visa restrictions at all.
Likewise if SAARC countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are really serious to use cricket as diplomatic tool to defuse tension, then they need to consider lifting the visa restrictions at least during these matches so that more and more people are able to move and interact with each other. For this all these countries need to do is build an infrastructure of international standard in the cities and towns which are near to their respective border so that their respective people can cross over frequently and easily enter into the each other country at an occasion like this.
(J.H.Reshi is a practicing lawyer at J & K High Court and a free lance writer. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Apr 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Apr 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 6 Apr 2011 00:00:00 IST
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