Mumbai, July 14: Just when it looked like India and Pakistan were about to smoke the peace pipe on both the political and cricketing fronts, a group of spoil-sports have dealt relations between the two countries a serious blow. Indeed, terrorists have again struck Mumbai, incidentally India's chief breeding ground for some of cricket's greatest names.
The Indian government need look no further than Pakistan to assign blame for terror strikes in India. The Indian Centre expended much energy in accusing Islamabad for not cracking down on rogue elements to pre-empt the carnage they brought to India's financial capital in late 2008. The scenario it spawned in the wake of the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, seems poised to play out in similar fashion now.
Cricket ties between the two countries that had long been seen as a Confidence-Building Measure (CBM) emerged one of the premier casualties in the cross-border rapport. However, efforts to avoid pitting the senior national cricket teams against each other ironically culminated in an inevitable clash during the World Cup earlier this year.
There was a glimmer of hope when that match-up took place, that the two countries would move closer to burying the hatchet, especially when one saw the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rubbing shoulders with his Pakistan counterpart Gilani in a VVIP box.
The BCCI has also been warming to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and were all set to take up the proposal of resuming cricket ties as topmost on their agenda. But all these endeavours may amount to naught after what happened at Dadar, Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House yesterday.
Now, it seems all goodwill will dissipate amid feelings of suspicion and furtiveness. It appears that both cricket and bomb blasts have become regular traits of Indo-Pak culture, with the latter threatening to annihilate the former. It is now up to the powers that be to decide whether it is in fact appropriate for the two countries to face off in the cricket arena.