1. The hokey advertising. Not only do I have to endure endless matches endlessly playing themselves out on TV, I also get to watch cricketers mock-pensively recall how one bank changed their lives forever.
2. That we bank all our hopes for redemption on the promise of winning the World Cup. Pakistan’s name has been besmirched by ball-biters? That’s ok, a world cup win will make it better. Corruption in the religious affairs ministry? Don’t worry, that golden cup will save us from ourselves.
3. Cricketers-turned-politicians-turned-team advisors. When they started running political parties we wished they’d go back to playing cricket. Now that they’ve started commenting on team morale-building, we wish they’d go back to politicking.
4. Cricketers-turned- match fixers-turned TV pundits. Just when we thought we didn’t need more Butticisms in our lives, someone decides to try and make the man an expert.
5. The new wave of nationalism. Patriotic fervour will unite the nation for the next month or so, as fundos, liberals, lefties and righties all rally behind the cricket team. The squabble that reignites after the Cup is just another reminder of our comically short-term memories.
6. New room for debate. Rampant cricket fever means that every man has an opinion on the team’s performance, stamina, groin injuries etc — and will not be afraid to express said opinions.
7. If this wasn’t bad enough, religious commentators have jumped on the bandwagon, and will once again claim the team performed poorly because the soles of their sneakers are painted green — the colour of Islam, remember?
8. The social exclusion. If you aren’t a member of the I-love-WorldCup club, your social calendar for the next month will start looking rather bleak. Ah well, more time to huddle up with that anniversary edition of Ballet Mecanique you’ve been meaning to see. Goody.
9. The ebb and flow of self-righteous smugness. If you hate on cricket madness and the team loses a match, you’re in the clear. But if the team wins, you’ll find your narrative quickly collapses, leaving you to eye celebrating fans with jealousy and wistfulness.
10. The anticipation. Not for the win, but for the scandal — because I can just smell the bookies closing in for the kill.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, February 27th, 2011.