If we thought that releasing Indian Air Force Pilot (IAF) Abhinandan Varthaman would have led to diplomacy from Modi, we were mistaken. While calls for war may have slowed down on the Indian side, our neighbour is opting for more soft power attacks- there are now calls on the Indian side to end cricketing ties with Pakistan, with some going so far to demand that Pakistan be kicked out of the impending World Cup this summer.

This use of the entertainment forum to air international grievances isn’t new- since 2008, India has used banning cricket or performers from Pakistan as a means of punishment. Yet this tactic often proves counter-productive and this instance of cricket hostility is particularly damaging. India’s calls to boycott Pakistan from the World Cup will bear no fruit considering no other country has expressed support to India’s recent tantrum against Pakistan. The pressure India means to inject upon Pakistan by using cricket will have no serious impact on our military or government strategy and will exacerbate the strife between the public of the two countries.

This senseless conflict between India and Pakistan impacts the trade, economy, stock market and art industry of both countries but when the never-ending hostility affects the world of cricket, it goes a step too far. For the South Asian countries, both of which have seen the consequences of colonialism, rampant poverty and rising religious extremism, cricket has always been a wonderful distraction for the public; it is the one medium through which the average Pakistani and Indian citizen can sit across the stadium from each other and engage in the good-natured competition that sports provide. For most Indian and Pakistani citizens, cricket is personal- and it shouldn’t be exploited as a tool to one-up each other during border hostilities.