Cricket is said to be a gentlemen’s game, and rightly so. The beauty of the game of cricket is further exemplified by the stroke of friendship it is striking between the two neighbouring countries India and Pakistan. The upcoming World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan in Mohali has set the hearts racing, not only of the 22 team-players of both courtiers, but the crores of Indians and Pakistanis. Not to forget the impetus it has given to the political leaders of both the countries who too seem very much prepared and enthused about the match as well as for the talks set for ahead of the match. The recent scenario of relationship between India and Pakistan showed no signs of any kind of meeting between the Premiers’s of both the countries. But kudos to cricket and the masterstroke of diplomacy played by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He sent an unexpected invite to Pakistan’s Premier to watch the Indo-Pak match in Mohali which was willingly accepted, showing the power of cricket once again. Any cricket match between India and Pakistan has always proven to be a magnetic pull attracting the entire world’s attention. This time, the match at Mohali will be extra special as it will have the coating of the presence of Prime Ministers of both the countries playing the match and they will witness the thrill unfold on the field together, though their presence will hardly have any effect on the course of the match. It should be noted that if both the Prime Ministers would not have been present, even then tomorrow’s semi-final would have proved to be more important than the final. There is no doubt that the diplomacy and politics of both the countries do have an effect on cricket at some level or the other. But it is tough to surmise cricket having any influence on the ties of both the countries. It may be possible to play diplomatic strike through cricket, but the task of diplomacy cannot be accomplished through cricket or any other game. Cricket can, at the most, provide an opportunity for diplomatic alertness.

It is true that the news of arrival of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at Mohali has raised new hopes of improving relations between the neihbouring countries. But considering the present situation, the chances of such hopes getting materialised are very less. India-Pakistan relationship can be improved only when the leaders of the countries genuinely strive towards such a goal. The initiative taken by Indian Prime Minister to develop better relations with Pakistan by inviting the countries Prime Minister will yield result only if Gilani shows keenness and agrees to chalk out plans to solve India’s problems. But the conundrum is that if Manmohan’s Pakistani counterpart is even capable of finding a solution to our country’s problems. India cannot ignore the fact that the leadership in Pakistan consulted their Army officials on Manmohan’s invitation before accepting it. This, once again proves that the political leadership in Pakistan is not independent and capable. How can one believe such a political leadership which is unable to shirk away the influence of its Army and act independently? It is vexing that Pakistan’s political leadership is neither free from its Army dictates nor is it capable of facing the nations internal challenges. On top of that, Pakistan’s refusal to take any step to satisfy India is all the more niggling. It is a fact that Pakistan knowingly is showing reluctance to act against the Mumbai terror attack accused. Actually, these all form a situation which compels us to cast a spell of doubt and question- Will Gilani’s India visit prove useful in improving India-Pakistan ties and supercede Manmohan’s diplomacy masterstroke?