As soon as India came closer to Australia’s target of 261 in the second quarterfinal, the excitement levels of the whole of India went out of control as it meant that India will play Pakistan in the semi-final of the World Cup 2011. Unfortunately, this gave rise to all kinds of discussions, debates and incidents that had nothing to do with cricket.
Forward SMS’es bashing Pakistani terrorists, people and even cricketers started doing the rounds. People started predicting which Indian or Pakistani cricketer will have a verbal spat with his counterpart. Hindi news channels started sensationalizing the match in such a manner as if the two nations are actually going to have a war on the border. The Kashmir issue also started booming. Of course, the political relations between the two countries became the hot issue. All this just because of a non-violent sport between the two countries.
And if this wasn’t enough, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made use of the match by playing a huge political trump card by inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari for the match. Manmohan thought the match will make his task easier of improving the relations between India and Pakistan. A sheer example of how politicians can pounce on every opportunity to make their ends meet.
By doing this, the match is now being looked upon by the world as a political battleground on the relations between India and Pakistan. Not to mention, the security headaches for the Chandigarh police and other security officials since the two Pakistani big shots will surely bring in a line of politicians with them and so will Manmohan and Sonia Gandhi (who has decided to ‘back’ Manmohan). Hence, the Mohali cricket stadium will be turned into a fortress.
And worse, there will be anti-aircraft missiles, guns and robotic bomb-disposal units in and around Mohali. So, are we preparing for a cricket match or an actual war between India and Pakistan? In the midst of all this, where the hell is cricket? Why not talk about the strengths and weaknesses of both the teams and analyze the day by just keeping the game in mind? One can just hope that on the big day, the unimportant factors take a backseat and only the game of cricket rules and the best team wins.