Any sentence with the words India and Pakistan in it can set the world, here, abuzz. Add the word cricket to the mix and it is a pot-boiler of drama. So as Pakistan rejoiced, India was left divided as to whether the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties is the way forward for the two countries.
There are three questions to the entire issue of playing a bilateral series (of course, this is simplifying a complex problem greatly). The following, however and as usual, does not claim to answer any.
1) Why is Pakistan this elated?
For a country which has not seen any international cricket in its own stadiums since the attack on the Sri Lanka team, anything seems to be good. A match against the richest Board?the World Champions? It is like a full-toss on a free-hit. (news read: Pakistan wants revenue share in series with India)
From former players to the President of the country, the jubilation at Board of Control for Cricket in India's decision to invite their team in December has perhaps been received as longingly as American aid once used to be taken.(news read: Indo-Pak series bigger than Ashes: Afridi and Pakistan welcomes India's decision to play)
Those were the days and these are the days. Of course, to say that the need for Pakistan was more would be blasphemy. The Indian Board has needs too!
2) Why is a section of India unhappy?
Some section of people in India continue to regard their cricketers as humans. Amateurs as they may be, questions of fatigue and rest or the lack of it is being brought up especially since the Pakistan series is being squeezed between the T20s and the Tests against England.
For whatever it's worth, MS Dhoni and his side got a month off in June and it is good enough to carry them through till the 2015 World Cup final. ( news read: No room for sentiments, says Dhoni)
Then there is the sacrosanct question of justice for Mumbai terror victims before bilateral cricket. This will not be elaborated upon.
3) Why is India nodding in appreciation?
A clash between the blues and the greens is always a delight to watch. And all those who may say the on-field enmity does not exist, apply to the Indian Foreign Services and become diplomats.
The fact is the rivalry exists and is quite fierce, keeping the past under wraps.
To watch Pakistan players come to India, to see them play, to hope for them to lose is a feeling shared in common by people - from the rich to the poor, the uneducated to the intelligentsia, the honest to the politicians and bureaucrats. Of course, this point may be applied to the first reason as well. (news read: BCCI confident of Pakistan tour clearance)
4) What about the cricketers?
Well for starters, Shahid Afridi has already billed it as a series bigger than the Ashes. Dhoni has said sentiments do not exist. Others have begun looking for bigger and better words, apt enough to describe this historic decision. (news read: Former Pak players elated with BCCI's decision)
For our cricketers however, words are all that will come because this or any other series is more like a business contract that has to be completed for personal passion and the country's glory. Oh, and lest we forget the minor financial benefits from the coterie that is Indo-Pak cricket - the solution to all our problems!