ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
India v Pakistan, semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali
Pakistan PM accepts Indian invitation
March 27, 2011
Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Gilani has accepted the invitation of his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, to attend the World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali on March 30. Relations between the two countries took a turn for the worse in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008, and the cricket teams of the two countries haven't played each other on home soil since. Analysts say the Indian prime minister's latest gesture will help to break the diplomatic deadlock.
"It was decided in response to the Indian Prime Minister's invitation that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will visit India to witness the semi-final cricket match," presidential spokesman Faharullah Babar said on Sunday in Islamabad.
Cricket has been used as an instrument of diplomacy between India and Pakistan in the past. In 1987, during an India-Pakistan Test in Jaipur, the then president of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq paid a visit to the Sawai Mansingh Stadium and met Rajiv Gandhi, India's prime minister. Then, in 2004, India toured Pakistan for a full series for the first time in 15 years as the governments of the two countries aimed at improving relations.
The build-up to the upcoming semi-final in Mohali has been massive. Tickets were sold out well in advance, hotels within a 25 km radius of the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium have no rooms available and almost 6,500 visas are expected to be issued for fans travelling from Pakistan. India and Pakistan have played each other on four occasions in World Cups, with India winning each time.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
South Africa's captain needs to single out his players for attention and get them firing individually and as a team
It has helped that India have a captain who has lasted as long as he has due to his approach of treating cricket for what it is: a game
Following their dominant start to the World Cup, India have three relatively low-pressure games to fine-tune ahead of the knockouts, and they will want to get their death-overs batting right
AB de Villiers returned to give West Indies another hammering, this time at the SCG
The sport's top event must be a high-quality affair. It's up to us to ensure that Associates get a fair chance at making the cut for it
A 40-over tournament with 18 teams, played over ten weeks, with a best-of-three final will help identify a true champion team with luck playing little part
After another blunt display, James Anderson's form at this World Cup is becoming a significant problem for England
Our sport can never hope to compete with football unless it takes an expansionist view