Karachi doesn’t have it anymore
The southern city has mostly played second fiddle to its culturally-superior counterpart.
The tour of England last summer might have stepped over the line when it came to the variety of news delivered to people’s doorsteps (shock results, records broken, surprises, resistance and controversies) but it also reignited the hotly-debated or argument that has been in existence for far too long: the rivalry between Karachi and Punjab.
The southern city has mostly played second fiddle to its culturally-superior counterpart, the class oozes a tad more in the north and talent has been ever so abundant in Lahore with Karachi feeling left out as a result.
Mohsin Khan was recently unhappy with his boss – and his team that is Pakistan cricket’s selection committee – over the alleged omission of Karachi-based players from the Test squad. Karachi’s own cricket association, the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), has shared its displeasure on the same issue time and again, even blaming the selectors for being involved with fixers given their preference for non-Karachi players.
But why can’t they come to terms with the fact that Karachi isn’t producing class anymore? Why can’t they see that there is no comparison between Misbahul Haq and Faisal Iqbal and that Khurram Manzoor is in no way a like-for-like replacement for Azhar Ali? While Fawad Alam’s continuous omission from the five-day format puzzles all – especially given that it is the only format he is still good at – him replacing Umar Akmal was a question best left unanswered. Or not even a question at all given Umar’s resurgence to reach his zenith that once was and Azhar’s defiance that continuously gathers followers with each passing day.
Iqbal hasn’t played for Pakistan since last January and his last six innings have fetched him a solitary half-century. Misbah, now Pakistan’s Test captain, has scored nothing but half-centuries in as many outings, half of them unbeaten. Azhar defied Australia and England last year, learning as he watched the opposition from close – fielding at short-leg – and breaking the 90-run mark twice. Manzoor, despite a 77 against Australia last time he batted for Pakistan, has 12 runs to show from the four innings prior to that.
As the Pakistan Cricket Board vehemently chalks out its plans for the future, of its investment and confidence in youth that will take Pakistan far in the coming years, it has, not for the first time, reverted to experience in the middle. Experience to nurture the youth, to groom the youngsters and to actually produce results for the team since winning is all that matters in this part of the world.
Given the individual performance of those whose inclusion has been questioned by Karachi’s officials, and the team’s show while they act their trade, it is obvious that the city feels left out but with reason. Pakistan does not, and should not, have a quota system for if Misbah is scoring a century, and allowing Azhar to learn on the job, the KCCA should understand the benefits it has for Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune.