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first_imgBy allowing Pakistan to play three ODIs and two T20 matches at home, India seems to have effectively delinked sports and politics in its ties with its difficult neighbour. This is the first time the traditional rivals will be playing a cricket series after almost five years. Pakistan has welcomed the decision, because it has faced huge isolation in participating in sporting events. Former captain Sunil Gavaskar and BJP MP Kirti Azad have openly criticised the decision on account of 26/11, and there is little doubt that they represent an important section of opinion. But the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision seems to suggest a desire to move beyond the Mumbai attack.The fact is that sporting relations between India and Pakistan have been going on, in one way or the other. Last year, Mohali hosted the high-voltage ICC World Cup semi-final, and since then Pakistani hockey players have come to India for World Series Hockey. And while players from Pakistan were not allowed into the auction pool for the Indian Premier League, Wasim Akram has continued as the bowling coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders.It is difficult to believe that the BCCI took such a huge decision without getting the government’s nod. Indeed, banning sporting events even while conducting diplomatic dialogue, as New Delhi has been doing with Islamabad, doesn’t make much sense.Hosting a short cricket series is actually a good way to generate some goodwill that could feed into the larger peace process. There is bound to be opposition but once the ice is broken, we can look at more frequent exchanges. Maybe Pakistani players could actually make it to the 2013 IPL.advertisementlast_img read more