Vol. 5 Num 317 Mon. April 18, 2005  

Pepsi Cup
India v Pakistan 2005

Musharraf won't predict result

Cricket bug has bitten Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Singh and Musharraf together watched the sixth and final one-day international cricket match between the two countries at the historic Ferozeshah Kotla stadium here this morning under extraordinary security.

Seated in an air-conditioned bullet-proof enclosure, the two leaders watched the match for slightly more than an hour before leaving the stadium for talks on a range of bilateral issues.

Prior to start of the match, Singh and Musharraf shook hands with members of both teams.

Clad in a grey suit, Musharraf looked relaxed and was all smiles as he expressed his best wishes to the players and the officials.

Musharraf, known for his public relations skills and ability to play to the media, then saluted the capacity crowd who responded with a roaring cheer.

Singh, in traditional Punjabi dress, was accompanied by senior BJP leader and former federal minister Arun Jaitley, who is also president of Delhi District Cricket Association, Indian cricket board chief Ranbir Singh Mahendra and Pakistan board chairman and former foreign secretary Shaharyar Khan.

This was the second time that a Pakistani leader had come to India to watch an international cricket match between the two countries. In 1987, it was Ziaul Haq who had done that in Jaipur.

Before leaving for the Kotla, Musharraf, speaking to reporters at the five-star hotel where he is staying, declined to predict the outcome of match.

"I don't know. In a match, there is a result. You don't get a result by watching a match," said Musharraf stated to be a keen watcher of India-Pakistan cricket matches wherever and whenever they are played.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri told reporters before going to watch the final tie that the cricket match between India and Pakistan should not be seen as a battle but as a sport.