India, Sept. 18 -- Cricket and films are poles apart: one is real, the other make believe. Though different, they are alike in so many ways. Both are profoundly important to India, both contribute to nation building and shape our national identity.

Cricket and films constitute India's 'soft power'. Indian cricket is welcome everywhere, in demand even in areas difficult to locate on the globe. If ICC has more than hundred members, it is only on the back of support from India.

Cricket is also a tool of diplomacy, which is why Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar were part of the PM's delegation when he visited Australia. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau found time to attend a cricket net in Delhi supervised by Sehwag. Navjot Sidhu was central to the Kart...