Enjoying cricket, not politics

Pakistan are finally coming together and that is what we should be celebrating at this time.

Editorial January 04, 2013
Pakistan are finally coming together and that is what we should be celebrating at this time. PHOTO: BCCI

When the first bilateral Pakistan-India cricket series after a five-year freeze was announced, cricket itself seemed like it would be secondary to the politics behind the event. Now that the matches are underway, the political implications seem somehow unimportant. Our One-Day International (ODI) series victory over our archrivals, after a stalemate in the Twenty20s, is a rare tonic to the never-ending controversies that engulf Pakistan cricket. For once, there was no talk of leadership battles, disgruntled superstars or match-fixing. We got to enjoy our team playing at its finest against the reigning world champions, and in doing so underlined our renaissance over the last year.

The Indian cricket team has been in disarray over the last couple of years, losing some of its legends to retirement and having one of the weakest bowling attacks in international cricket. Pakistan itself is in a rebuilding stage. We have bowlers who are among the finest in the world but our batting line-up remains brittle. Despite these obvious frailties on both sides, the added spice of a Pakistan-India clash meant these factors receded to the background. Pakistan are a team on the way up and their future spearhead could be opener Nasir Jamshed, whose back-to-back centuries in the ODIs show that he can shine on the world’s largest stage.

In the limited-overs format, we still have a problem with our middle order of Azhar Ali and Misbahul Haq. They do not seem to display the urgency required to put up match-winning totals and so we have to rely on our splendid bowlers to bail us out. Saeed Ajmal is already known to be the finest spinner in the world but the emergence of left-arm fast-bowlers Junaid Khan and Mohammed Irfan is also heartening for our future development. Pakistan are finally coming together and that is what we should be celebrating at this time. The political implications of the limited-overs series can wait for another day.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2013.


Parishey | 10 years ago | Reply

Weldone Pakistan and great game Indians... Hope we can play more cricket

Feroz | 10 years ago | Reply

Congratulations to the Pakistani team on their excellent performance. Like in any sport the team that plays better on the day wins, and that is how it should be. India is in the process of losing top notch players who have served them well for decades. Their going means there are large shoes that need to be filled, the process of rebuilding could take years. Pakistan is fortunately better placed at this point in time. The brighter side is that the wheel of fortune is not static and keeps moving. Let us hope that we are likely to unearth a better crop of players who can take the game forward.

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