Friday, Jul 04, 2003
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Pakistan legend Imran Khan thinks this is the right time for India and Pakistan to resume cricket ties as it will provide a boost to the ongoing peace process.
The cricketer-turned-politician said it was a ``good idea'' to resume rivalry on the cricket field now in the background of peace initiatives taken by the political establishments in both India and Pakistan.
``I think because there is a perception in the public that a dialogue is starting, there is a first step forward. So, once you go in that direction cricket is going to help,'' Imran Khan said in an interview to Worldview India.
Imran disagreed with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's perception that cricket was a trivial issue in India-Pakistan relations.
``If there is animosity between the two countries then cricket plays a divisive role. It further accentuates the animosity and if the relationship is cordial or getting closer then cricket plays a cementing part,'' he said.
To hammer home his point, Imran said, ``you see if there is tension, for instance as it was after Kargil, then cricket would have made it worse. Because you know then cricket becomes the battlefield.
``On the other hand, as there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel right now, then I think cricket helps. It is going to cement more. I mean, I am all for it. I think it is time to resume cricketing ties,'' he said.
Emphasising that he had never received more affection in any country than on his first tour of India, Imran, however, said he strongly felt that an India- Pakistan cricket match was nothing less than a war.
``It is a war. It is a friendly war if the countries are friendly and it gets quite hostile if there is hostility between the two countries.''
On Pakistan's poor World Cup performance, the 1992-World Cup winning skipper said though everyone was extremely disappointed there was no need to conduct an inquiry into it.
``Pakistan was the only country which lost without any reason. I mean other teams... England forfeited a match. West Indies was affected by rain but Pakistan just lost without any excuse.
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