Imran Farhat, you are the real hero
Dear Imran Farhat, you are the true master of comebacks. You have made at least a zillion of them. You disappointed the nation on a million occasions, but you always made a comeback with your head held high.
You epitomise the spirit of “Emir Timur”, who never lost his hope after watching the perseverance of an ant climbing over a vertical wall. However, unlike you, Timur had finally conquered his goal and defeated King Bruce. More of a likeness is prominent between you and the ant, as you are continue to climb a vertical wall of Pakistani batting hopes, over and over again. I am sure, one day you will succeed in your efforts. I don't think it matters if Pakistan were to lose numerous more games as long as we continue to accommodate you till you get it right.
I remember when you made your One Day International (ODI) debut as a young spirited cricketer against New Zealand, in 2001. You were only 19. It was quite an impressive debut, considering your current form. You made five whole runs before getting out and in the next ODI, you scored another four runs! Since then, you have been showing consistent form in various formats of the game- be it ODIs, tests, or T20's. In the recent two ODI innings in Champions Trophy, you scored two runs apiece.
Good show, mate. Keep it up.
However, you alone cannot shoulder all the glory.
Let us take a peek at the recent illustrious form of Shoaib Malik; a man who hasn’t scored a single fifty since September 2009. He, like you Mr Farhat, is also considered as a top-order “specialist” batsman. His last 14 ODI batting statistics read: seven, 23, 34, 24, five, 19, 35, four, 19, 28, one, 43, zero, eight. He too is a persevering "hero", although he can occasionally bowl and field, unlike you.
But more than your consistency, I must praise the faith and tenacity of your selectors. They have been investing faith in you since pre-9/11 attack times - much has changed in the world, yet you seem to prevail. It reminds me of Einstein's definition of insanity as, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. I am sure these selectors are trying to eulogise that theory of Einstein's.
My dear hero! This nation requires facing an ordeal to test its patience and steadfastness, and you fit the role of that ordeal perfectly. Otherwise, we had far better players who have impressive domestic records. Just look at the First Class (FC) averages of some of these bright and talented players: Usman Salahuddin (FC average; 47.21), Umar Akmal (FC average; 48.94), Fawad Alam (FC average; 55.96), Harris Sohail (FC average; 52.74) etc. All of them score heaps of runs in domestic cricket against the likes of M Irfan, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul and Asad Ali. Yet they don’t get ample opportunities, thanks to you, of course.
Then, we have even more gleaming youthful talent, such as Hammad Azam, Shazaib Hasan, and Ahmad Shehzad, who get one or two opportunities and are being dropped forever. Perhaps, they lack the “mental strength” and “resources” that you possess.
Look at Nasir Jamshed: I remember he was benched in the recent bilateral series against South Africa after only three failures. The selectors had conveniently forgotten that Jamshed had scored two back-to-back centuries against India, only three ODIs ago. They immediately looked around for a replacement and lo and behold! They called you once again. I immediately looked towards the skies because the Champions Trophy was right around the corner. As a result, today, we virtually knocked out of this prestigious tournament.
We have Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed as two relatively established openers. Moreover, we also have Kamran Akmal: who has been opening in ODIs with a reasonable success. Why would we need an additional opener? Probably because you are a lucky charm, my hero.
I was frustrated with the constant failures of Afridi with bat and ball recently. I was even in favour of dropping him from the team. However, I now believe that just half of “Lala” can perform better than you and Malik combined.
Today, after a tenaciousness of a decade, your average stands around the lofty heights of 30 in 58 ODIs, and 32 in 40 Test matches. Keep trying mate; you are still pretty young, a vibrant 31 year old. When you will be 40, I am sure your average will walk hand in hand with your age. My only worry is that, why the selectors have been so hesitant in making you the next captain. All your children and grandchildren would be proud of such an illustrious career.
Finally, if somebody reckons that our cricket, especially our batting has lost its foothold and has become hopeless, they better take a look at the records of the above-mentioned young domestic players. It is not the players but the management that is playing cricket for our nation.
Read more by Faisal here.
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