There has to be a first time, and I hope it is this time. I hope to dance with you all once again, like we did when Afridi hit ‘those’ two sixes.
Ahead of the much talked about India-Pakistan contest in the T20 World Cup, I decided to enlighten you all with my cricket analysis. Nobody asked for it but that doesn’t mean I’m going to deprive you of the greatest gift to every cricket lover in this country.
Every Pakistani is three things by birth; a religious scholar, a political pundit and a cricket analyst. It’s one of those things that we take great pride in but nobody else in the world is able to comprehend. We can always tell how Sachin could have better played that cover drive, or why Saeed Anwar wasn’t able to achieve the same heights as Brian Lara or how it is a Jewish conspiracy to ban our players and let the nation suffer even more. However it’s completely irrelevant if the other boys (read bullies) in our block don’t let us play in their team just because we suck at it.
We adore cricket! It’s our romance. We love to watch it, play it, discuss it and read about it. It’s a religion in this part of the world and the cricketers are our national heroes. We have their posters in our rooms, we have them on TV all the time (since they made a principle decision to focus more on their showbiz careers), we have them staring at us from the billboards and from the rear screens of cars… You simply just can’t get away from them.
I have grown up in the late nineties watching the likes of Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Saqlain bowling like no man’s business, ripping opposition batting line ups apart. We have a history of producing world class fast bowlers, starting from Fazal Mehmood (the conqueror of Oval) to the most recent phenomena known as Amir. So I have sort of always taken our bowling for granted. As for batting, I don’t remember a single day in my lifetime when it could have been safely said that our opening woes are over.
It’s a strange contradiction that our neighbors have a history of producing batting giants like Gavaskar, Sachin, Dravid and Kohli but we struggle to find even a couple of decent ones at one time. Apparently all the people with good fast bowling genes moved to Pakistan during the Partition and the ones with good batting genes moved the other way. What astonishes me the most is that our half-brothers (Bengalis) have found some good batsmen who bat like they own the pitch, oozing with so much confidence. On the other hand our batsmen on the crease are a bad parody of ‘Razia ghundoun main phans gayi’, (‘ghunday’ from the epiglottis).
Greek philosopher Socrates based his teachings around the aphorism “Know Thyself”, thus effectively demonstrating the importance of introspection. Our cricket team very aptly reflects the present state of our society – glimpses of individual brilliance but failing as a group. Team India is undoubtedly stronger, better prepared to handle the pressure and packed with match winners, so the momentum is on their side. Their winning streak at ICC events has been dragged for too long and rationally it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. But India-Pakistan matches drive high on emotion, and don’t forget we have lost to them in ICC events when the momentum used to be on our side. There has to be a first time, and I hope it is this time. I hope to dance with you all once again, this 19th, like we did when Afridi hit ‘those’ two sixes.
I’m the unpredictable… I’m Pakistan!