India saves face as Pakistan takes the series

India won only one match of the ODI series but they celebrated as though they won the World Cup!

Muhammad Omar Iftikhar January 07, 2013
As an avid cricket fan, I always watch a match for the love of the sport. However, in case of a Pakistan versus India game, my intentions are for the Green Gladiators to crash and burn their opponents in blue.

During the third ODI between India and Pakistan, I desperately wanted to see our team perform a 3-0 whitewash. Although India’s target of 167 was not towering, in the end it was sufficient to keep Pakistan at bay. Hence a whitewash against India remains a distant Pakistani dream.

It didn’t feel right when Kamran Akmal was sent as the opener with Nasir Jamshed. Alas! My doubts stood true when Akmal lost his wicket without scoring.

I instantly began switching between channels because it wasn’t Pakistan’s day.

Instead of scoring consistent runs, Pakistan kept loosing wickets at regular intervals. Half of the team returned to the pavilion at the score of 119.

Jamshed, who scored two consecutive centuries in this series, could only make 34 (64). However, I’m happy that he earned the Man of the Series award – he deserved it.

While watching the Pakistani innings I felt as if some other group of players was on the field. This was definitely not the Pakistani side that I saw in the previous two games. There was no cohesiveness in the team and none of the batsmen could judge the line and length of the Indian bowlers.

Pakistani Skipper Misbahul Haq scored 39 (82) and remained the highest scorer for the side. This is ironic because in my opinion he should not be on our team in the first place!

I don’t think the third ODI was an ordinary match. It’s always a matter of pride for Pakistan and India to play against each other; however, with a series score of 2-0, it was India that looked confident.

Pakistani players didn’t show a winning spirit; this was quite suspicious. Whether it’s the magic of Aman ki Asha or a late night phone call with instructions, we don’t know yet.

Pakistani players should have displayed a higher morale for they had the series in the bag and were playing for the kill. But sadly that wasn’t the case.

However, winning and losing is part of the game. Both Pakistan and India have seen good and bad days on the cricket field and the third ODI was no different. One team had to lose so that the other could emerge as victorious. At the end of the day, India was the better team but the way they celebrated their triumph was plain tacky and just not necessary.

When Yuvraj Singh took the catch of Mohammad Hafeez off the bowling of Ishant Sharma, I was unable to fathom why the Indian team was celebrating with such rampant ecstasy. It was just a match and India won; only one match of the ODI series but their joy was parallel to a World Cup victory! It was just distasteful.

I think the Indian team will be seen as hero’s at home but Dhoni will face criticism for his lack of direction in the first two games of the ODI series.

I also find it incredibly puzzling as to why Mahindra Singh Dhoni received the Man of the Match award. He didn’t do much in the match; scoring 36 (55) isn’t extraordinary, or is it?

In my opinion, Saeed Ajmal should have received the award for his exceptional bowling where he took five wickets in 9.4 overs and gave just 24 runs.

Just like other Pakistanis, I am appalled at the performance of the Pakistani team for they were all out at 157. However, we did win the series on Indian soil and for the time being, this is enough to keep me happy.

Follow Omar on Twitter @omariftikhar

Muhammad Omar Iftikhar The author is a freelance writer and blogger and writes for various English dailies of Pakistan. He tweets @omariftikhar (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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