NEW DELHI: A tiny north Indian city has overnight become a hottest tourist destination, drawing Prime Ministers, corporate czars, showbiz celebrities and passionate fans for what is touted as the “mother of all cricket contests”.
Nothing gets bigger in this part of the globe than a cricket match featuring India and Pakistan, who fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.
The rivalry would be renewed in Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final in Mohali in the state of Punjab and the city administration is already bracing for a logistical nightmare. Many government and cricket officials fear the match could be a potential tinderbox given the emotions involved and some have urged the fans and the media not to hype what is essentially a cricket contest.
“It’s like any other match. The media hype around the match, I think, is totally unnecessary,” Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam told CNN-IBN channel.
“We have come here to play cricket. This is not war field or anything. I’m sure you will see a great game of cricket,” said the former Pakistan captain, who has coached the Punjab team in Ranji trophy.
Even South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis hoped the high-profile match would pass without anything untoward.