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.
Who makes it to the IPL XI for 2016? Here are ESPNcricinfo's picks, keeping in mind the four-overseas-players rule
Far from a towering, inspiring, regal presence, Angelo Mathews just stood and watched as England steamrolled his side once again
Poor form in the IPL, and the selectors' decision to reward consistent domestic performers such as Faiz Fazal and Yuzvendra Chahal, resulted in the omission of Hardik Pandya and Pawan Negi for the Zimbabwe tour
Mustafizur Rahman has been a conspicuous success on the field in his first IPL season, but has had to overcome a number of challenges off it, including homesickness and an inability to speak English
T20 has produced a breed of player who with his imagination, athleticism and technical mastery proves that scoring prodigiously and fast does not have to involve massive risk-taking