Should India Play Pakistan at the World Cup ?

Cricket is not just a game in India, it is a religion. So when it comes to a game of cricket, the Indians see it more than just a sport. Players are given demigod status and are worshiped in this country. The emotion and euphoria that the fans have are unmatched in any other country. So it is but natural that given the events that have happened in the past fortnight, a big question has emerged regarding India and Pakistan’s match at the World Cup in England.

India does not play Pakistan in any bilateral series after the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Both the teams only get to face each other in multi-nation tournaments like the Asia Cup, ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC World Cup. Pakistan players are not allowed to play in the IPL also which is the biggest cricketing spectacle that takes place every year in India and has players from every cricket playing nation taking part.

India is scheduled to play in the round robin league on 16th June, Sunday, at the Old Trafford ground in Manchester. The match will be a day match and will start at 3 pm IST. There was a similar situation in 1999 when India and Pakistan were involved in a cricket match in the World Cup in England and both the countries were engaged in the Kargil War. The war did not have any effect on the cricket match and India defeated Pakistan in that game.

So why should it be any different this time around? The simple reason is that at that time Pakistan was not considered as terrorism hub but today it has been proven time and again that our neighbour is harboring some people who are not good for mankind and are the reason behind these terrorist attacks. There is a strong feeling across the nation that India should sever all its ties with Pakistan because it is impossible to do trade and play with a neighbour who is being globally rebuked for harbouring terrorism.

But there is a section of society that feels that sport is one way by which relations can be improved. Cricket is a common factor between the two nations. The games are loved and adored by billions across the two countries and can act as a balm for strained relations. It can open a way for dialogue between the nations.

The players have always shown respect towards each other but the advent of social media has given a way to some people to spread hate whenever the countries play. There is another match that happens on social media whenever the two teams meet on the field. The emotions run high and players are labelled as heroes and villains on the basis of the outcome of the match. This frenzy sometimes put unnecessary pressure on the players.

We all should understand that cricket, after all, is a game and the diplomacy should be kept aside. It is the job of the two governments to work together and weed out terrorism. Cricket, if it happens, will only act as a sweetener to the relations and will give memories to cherish. By banning it you are taking joy away from people which they badly need in these times of distress. Let the game go on.