Sport & Culture

India and Pakistan set for Cricket Excitement

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Sport & Culture

India and Pakistan set for Cricket Excitement

With the first of five games on December 25th, sports ties between both nations seem to be warming.

While parts of the world will enjoying Christmas dinner, India and Pakistan are preparing to meet on the cricket pitch.

The Pakistan team is in the Indian city of Bangalore for the first of five games on December 25th.

Cricket is hugely popular in both countries and ties between the two have largely been on hold since the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, when Pakistani gunmen killed 174 people in India’s commercial heartland.

The two teams have played since then but not in their respective countries.

Now there are tentative steps to restore relations between these two cricketing giants.

New Delhi will issue 3,000 short-term visas for Pakistani fans wanting to follow their team around India over the coming weeks.

Security will be tight in Bangalore with 5,000 police officers on duty. Local police chief Jyotiprakash Mirji warned that no protests or demonstrations will be allowed.

"As maintaining law and order and providing security are our primary duty, we will take stern action against anyone trying to disrupt the match," Mirji said.

"As the governments of both the countries have agreed to hold the bilateral series, no organization will be allowed to disrupt the match," Mirji added.

Not everyone supports the series, especially after recent comments by Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik who said on a visit to New Delhi that India could have done more to stop the attacks in 2008.

The Pakistani Taliban are also against the tour.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman, Ihsanullah Ihsan, sent an email to journalists saying that the “visit of [the] Pakistani team to India is a disgusting gesture. Pakistan's government is doing all this on the orders of their god America and in fear of India."

And cricket is not the only tpe of "sports diplomacy" the two countries are undertaking. The Pakistan hockey team will tour India in March for a five-match test series with India returning the favor a month later. The last series took place in 2006.

"On the invitation of PHF (Pakistan Hockey Federation) I am going to Pakistan for a two-day trip on January 29,” said Hockey India Secretary General Narinder Batra. “During the meeting we will discuss the modalities of the resumption of bilateral hockey ties between the two nations.”

"If everything goes as per plan Pakistan will tour India at the end of March next year for five Test matches. Then India will visit Pakistan in May for another five Tests," he added.