India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Final: It's not just cricket, Indo-Pak rivalry transcends sport

Posted In: News Date:Jun 17th, 2017

An intense love of cricket is shared by these nuclear-armed neighbors, as profoundly as their deep and mutual mistrust. The players from India and Pakistan will be cordial before and after the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final in London on Sunday - for that is customary in cricket's conventions - but there'll be tension for hundreds of millions of people tuning in across South Asia, where this rivalry transcends sport.

Cricket, bequeathed to India and Pakistan by their British colonial rulers, is usually one of the few things the countries can agree upon. Matches have previously been opportunities for diplomacy and to defuse tensions with rare high-level meetings or to swap friendly remarks.

That appears unlikely this weekend, amid escalating tensions as India accuses Pakistan of supporting terrorism and backing terrorists in the state of Kashmir - charges Pakistan denies. The countries have fought two of their three wars over rival claims to Kashmir, and regularly exchange fire over a de facto border that divides the territory between them.

There has been no official dialogue between the countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in India three years ago.