Manchester, June 15 -- Amrit Mathur, the manager of India's World Cup team in 2003, narrates a tale that puts in perspective the off-field pressures that players are subjected to in the lead-up to an India Pakistan World Cup game. Especially in a climate like today's, when political and diplomatic ties between the two countries have been severed. As the two teams hadn't played an ODI in nearly three years leading up to the match at Centurion on March 1, 2003, it was decided by Mathur, his Pakistani equivalent Shahryar Khan and Ali Bacher, the 2003 World Cup tournament director, that the players would shake hands before the match begins; a gesture of friendship.

"Just minutes before the two teams were about to descend the long staircase to ...