An Israeli ambassador in the series Yes Prime Minister once observed that an order from the British prime minister is liable to quickly turn into “advice” in the hands of his foreign secretary and a mere “suggestion” for diplomats in the thick of things.
Cricket is witnessing something similar in India. On Wednesday, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao virtually ruled out any quick resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan. This was less than a month after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pitched for its speedy restoration.
If anything, that nearly took the fun out of the India-Pakistan match at Mohali. The presence of two prime ministers added political tension to an otherwise exciting occasion. The lesson is obvious: between a bat in the hands of a prime minister and a démarche-wielding diplomat, cricket is best left to sportsmen and spectators.