Cricket fever grips Pakistan
For almost an entire generation of sports lovers in Pakistan, a visit by the Indian cricket team is a novelty. Certainly, as entertainment, it must go through the roof of all ratings. It is no wonder then that the municipal administration of Saddar Town, Karachi, has granted permission to two cinema theatres to telecast the opening one-dayer live! Read The Dawn's report here.
They might have gone to play cricket in Pakistan, but it is security that is on top of everyone's priority as far as the touring side are concerned.
Sourav Ganguly found this out to his mild irritation (and possibly part amusement and a lot of relief) that everyone is taking the security issue very seriously indeed. UAE paper Khaleej Times reports how he found a coffee shop in his hotel reluctant to serve him. It emerges that they were under orders not to serve anything to an Indian player till someone else tasted and declared it safe first! Click here to find out what happened.
Really, keeping everyone happy is really no joke. After the fusspots at the BCCI finally agreed to all the terms and conditions, and the tour got under way, it is now the Pakistan fans' turn to complain. The Daily Times carries this report by Saniya Bhutta about fans being denied access to the Indian players.
Is this justified caution or taking things a bit too far on what is, after all, supposed to be a 'goodwill' tour?
Hard to say who is right and who isn't, but the good news is, if you have any views about this or anything else related to India-Pakistan cricket, do log in to Jang.com's online Viewers' Forum. The current topic is: "Will Pak-India cricket series play a significant role in bridging the gap between the two countries?"
There can be too much of a good thing. Aren't we all getting slightly sick of the running commentary provided by various media as the Indian team left for Pakistan, boarded their aircraft, landed at Lahore, lost a game, went to Karachi and so on?
However, Asher Butt of The Nation gives his version of the frenzy when the Indian team arrived at Lahore. He provides an interesting perspective by actually describing what happened all around instead of reporting at what exact moment Rahul Dravid whipped out his digicam and Tendulkar scratched his stubble. Get it all here.
Finally, here's a change: a very lucid preview to the tour by Ali Riaz of the Pakistan Observer. He does call it "cricket's most intense rivalry", but has managed not to succumb to the overwhelming hype surrounding the series.
Watch this space for more on what the Pakistan media is saying about this historic Pakistan-India tour.