21 January, 2021

Is Cricket The Perfect Tool To Foster Diplomacy? An Emphatic Answer Is Still Awaited

India and Pakistan have used cricket to mend ties. The threat to boycott a World Cup match after attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama was a new tactics

Melting Point
Former Pakistan president Gen. Musharraf with then PM Manmohan Singh at Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi, in 2005
Photograph by Narendra Bisht
Is Cricket The Perfect Tool To Foster Diplomacy? An Emphatic Answer Is Still Awaited

Cricket—the very word conjures up a serene winter’s day…the plucky exploits of men in white…windscreens billowing in the wind…the ‘plock’ of bat meeting ball…wild cheering of spectators…the lengthening shadow creeping across the ground in harmony to the waning sun (rain-spl­o­tched English summers be damned)…. Yet, with its increasing hold on people, this idealised arcadia took on the contours of faith; when bands of eleven ‘represented’ countries, patriotic pride and its hand­maiden, nationalism, rea­­red its head. When ‘incidents’ and contro­ver­sies on the field went out of hand, statecraft had to be deployed to stanch the flow of passion. On the other hand, diplomacy has taken recou­rse to cricket, to use its immense goodwill and its incredible reach into every nook and cranny.

Elements of all this can be plainly seen as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 edges to its mid-point: the colourful fervour, raw emotions, exem­plary sportsmanship...



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