I read in one of the newspapers that the National Assembly was going to take up the issue of the failure of the Pakistan cricket team in the Asia T20 Cup. From this terse announcement I came to the conclusion that parliament couldn’t be having too much to do if they can devote time to finding out just what went wrong with the boys in green on those occasions when it really mattered. Cricketers in England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand must have chuckled when the item was brought to their attention. This is the job of the cricket boards, not parliament, and I don’t think anybody can quite see somebody like David Cameron taking up a drubbing in the Ashes in the House.
Afridi lost his place in the team a few years back: Javed Miandad
Javed Miandad of the famous Sharjah Six which earned him a Mercedes Benz and a couple of other kibitzers have become hoarse with their demands that Waqar Younis the coach and Shahid Afridi the captain should be sent to the Salt Mines. Miandad, a pop-up lexicon of Who’s Who of Pakistan cricket, gives no quarter, he is thoroughly unapologetic and cajoles his audience like a riot policeman herding geese. And then there are the Experts. Each sports channel has its panel. They sit in judgment like South African High Court judges, minus the wigs, pontificating on the merits of different players, offering suggestions and inevitably ending by scalping a couple of players.
So far the sponsors of a well-known shampoo have not done the Maria Sharapova on Afridi, though I am sure the audience that watches cricket matches on the telly must be tired of those various cell phone, aerated drinks, shampoo and biscuit ads that appear ad nausem, and often in rapid succession in between overs and at times during an over. A few years during the IPL tournament in India I remember seeing some commercials made by local agencies which were really funny, and one didn’t mind seeing them more than once. Anyway, one supposes the ads are necessary to keep the tournaments going. Of course, one can always switch over to another channel when the barrage starts and switch back to the game in progress. One of my grandsons is an expert in this and his timing is perfect.
Determined for Pakistan, India to not play in Kolkata: ATFI
Currently, the Pakistan cricket team is faced with a much bigger problem — the provision of security in India. Threats of digging up a pitch, attacking players and intimidating team members will not put our players in a right frame of mind to do their best. The venue of the Pakistan-India match has been shifted to Kolkata where Saleem Malik pulled off Pakistan’s great victory over India many years ago, when he hit Kapil Dev for four fours in the last over. Chaudhry Nisar has still been asking for guarantees from the Indian government for the safety of the Pakistan team. At the time of writing, no such guarantee has been forthcoming.
It is not certain that changes in the captain and the team will ensure any victories, especially against India, which has a strong chance of winning the trophy. Even if the team is not changed, one would have to get a couple of shrinks involved. The team is demoralised, and the captain, who in the past has pounced upon the scene like a Pacific hurricane, which earned him the nickname of ‘boom boom’, has been repeatedly failing with the bat. I am reminded of what the popular cricket commentator and columnist Omar Kureshi once wrote at a time when the Pakistan cricket team had become superstars: “You win some, you lose some. After all, Cricket is only a game.” Unfortunately, both Pakistanis and Indians apparently have forgotten this.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2016.
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