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Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Outlook.com

This Lovable Marquee

The '90s rancour is past. Cricket, the victim before, is now the tone-setter.

This Lovable Marquee
AP
This Lovable Marquee
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Which side are you supporting?" the spectator behind me asked. The setting was the Punjab Cricket Association's lovely ground at Mohali. It was the first session of the first day of the first Test. India was playing Pakistan and Irfan Pathan was bowling to Salman Butt. "I'm a committed neutral," I answered. It was one of those rare occasions when the diplomatic reply also happened to be a truthful one.

As a cricket lover and a frequent visitor to South Asia, I'm deeply heartened by the resumption of cricket competition between the two countries, and even more by the ambience in which the cricket is being played and watched. At Mohali, as in Pakistan a year ago, the sporting spectacle has been garnished by myriad gestures of Indo-Pak amity.

Watching the banners incorporating the symbols of the two nations and emblazoned with doves of peace and hands clasped in friendship, I couldn't help but note the contrast with the last Indo-Pak match I'd attended: the 1996 World Cup quarter-final in Bangalore. India won that match but it was a depressing occasion for anyone...
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