Welcoming resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan, cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the game can help cement bilateral relations but can do more damage than good when there are “wrong” voices from politicians.
“When the atmosphere between politicians and government is positive, when you try and get close, then crickets act like cement to the relationship,” Khan said recalling the days when he had played during peacetime as well as “when two forces were on the border facing each other”.
“It is a healthy competition and people get close,” Khan said on the sidelines the World Economic Forum conference here.
He, however, warned that if there is animosity and “wrong” voices from politicians, “then cricket field actually becomes a battle field. It actually does more damage than good”.
He said since there is a positive change now, “I am looking forward to the cricketing seasons”. He added that cricketing ties help in furthering people-to-people contacts.
The BCCI has invited Pakistan to play three one-dayers and two Twenty20 matches in December-January, the first bilateral contests between the arch-rivals in five years. However, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had earlier asked his party activists not to permit the forthcoming Indo-Pak matches anywhere in the country.