12 April 2011
Mohali match improved Pakistan-Indian ties: Gilani
Pakistan's Prime Minister feels cricket has brought the two nations and their governments closer
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (L) and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) wave to spectators prior to the start of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup second semi-final.
Gilani made the remark Monday at a reception hosted by him in honour of the national cricket team, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
He said the semifinal played between Pakistan and India had brought the two governments and two nations closer.
'It is not the question of winning or losing by one country; In fact the winner is the cricket and the people of Pakistan and India,' he was quoted as saying.
The cricket team led by Captain Shahid Afridi along with Pakistan Cricket Board chairperson Ejaz Butt, coach Waqar Younis and assistant coach Aqib Javed were present.
On March 30, India beat Pakistan by 29 runs in the thrilling semifinal in Mohali that was witnessed by Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. Gilani's visit to Mohali was dubbed cricket diplomacy.
India went on to lift the World Cup by trouncing Sri Lanka April 2 in Mumbai by six wickets.
Prime Minister Gilani praised the cricket team for its superb performance in the World Cup in which they reached the semi-finals.
He announced Rs.1 million for each team player and Rs.5 lakh each for the management.
Gilani appreciated the cricketers for proving their mettle in difficult circumstances and overcoming the wave of 'sports conspiracies'.
He said he was in favour of continuity of cricket matches between the two countries as it would help develop positive thinking besides providing a friendly entertainment on both sides.
Afridi told the media that his upcoming tour to West Indies was important.
'This cricket team is not just the composition of 12 players; it is the team of 17 crore people and the media,' he said.
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