yeah, this news gave me a good laugh
And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW
Yeah we don't crap in the first world; most of us would actually have no idea what that was emanating from Ajmal's backside. Why isn't it roses and rainbows like what happens here? PEWS's retort to Ganeshran on Daemon's picture depicting Ajmal's excreta
I read the article below and it put a smile on my face. I hardly watch cricket these days. I usually keep up with the score on Cricinfo when the match is taking place, but gone are the days when I would watch every Pakistani match live (even if that meant staying up all night and working the next day because of the time zone difference). Andy Bull captures the joy and frustration of being a Pakistani fan - and that too from a neutral's perspective. Lovely writing.
In praise of Pakistan: a team I love to watch but am at a loss to explain
A GLORIOUS AND INEXPLICABLE MYSTERY
Last 25 May, during a talk about Pakistani cricket at the Southbank Centre, I found myself lost for a word. Just one. I couldn’t find it because, so far as I know, it doesn’t exist. I needed something to capture the embarrassment I felt when I thrust my arm confidently into the air, fully expecting it to be one in a thicket, and found, instead, that I was one of the very few people in the room willing to admit to be being a fan of Shahid Afridi. Raised hands were so few and far between, in fact, that the speaker, that talented man Osman Samiuddin, as he surveyed the rows of seats from the theatre stage, was able to pick me out, a way away in the gloom at the back, and say: “Oh look, it’s Andy Bull.” At which point heads turned to see the lone fool with his arm up. Umm … Hi. I would say Afridi has achieved the impossible and exhausted the patience of the Pakistani fans. Except that he is still in the team.
If you’re a neutral, Afridi is an easy player to love. A ball-biting, boundary-hitting, pitch-ripping, wicket-tricking, cricketing lunatic. Even Geoff Boycott loves to watch Afridi play. “Fantastic, great for the game,” says Boycott. “And daft as a brush”. For many Pakistani fans, on the other hand, Afridi is insufferably infuriating. I thoroughly enjoyed what was, to me, one of the archetypal Afridi performances when, at Lord’s in 2010, recalled to the Test team for the first time in four years, and as captain no less, he was caught at cow corner off his fourth ball. Off the bowling of Marcus North. In a fourth-innings run chase. He then told the press “with my temperament I can’t play Test cricket” and quit the game for good. Others, those who have an emotional investment in the success of the side, seemed, surprisingly, somewhat less amused by it all.
What a curious affliction it must be to be a full-time Pakistan fan, to follow a side who go through such giddy swings of form. Does anyone in cricket suffer so much? And is anyone in cricket rewarded for their suffering with such exquisite performances, such paroxysmic peaks of pleasure? In the last week the world watched, ever-more slack jawed, as they destroyed Australia in the first Test at Dubai. The result gave just as much pleasure to cricket-lovers in this corner of the world as Pakistan’s 3-0 demolition of England in 2011 must have done to those Down Under.
And yet it was only a fortnight ago that Pakistan lost two wickets for no runs at all in the final over of an ODI when they only needed two to win. Off Glenn Maxwell’s bowling. They won this Test with a bowling attack who had all of nine caps between them, two rookie spinners, one of them 35 years old, the other a leggie playing his very first game. Their batting lineup was propped up a green wicketkeeper, Sarfraz Ahmed, who rattled along lickety-split at a run-a-ball, and the 36-year-old Younis Khan, who had just been dropped from the ODI side and who was so pissed off with his own cricket board that he made a point of refused to thank them when he was asked to do so. All marshalled by a 40-year-old skipper, Misbah-ul-Haq, who has just dropped himself from the ODI side because of his slow-scoring, and whose own coach attributes his good form in this very Test to the fact that he has put on weight.
It has been over five years now since Pakistan’s fans last got to see the team play a Test at home. Among the current side, only Younis, Misbah, and Mohammad Hafeez have ever played an international game on their own soil. And though the first two of them seem to be altogether impervious to the effects of advancing age, it is likely even they will be in retirement by the time the team is able to play in their own country again. There will be an entire generation of Pakistani cricketers who have no idea what it is to play for their country in front of their own fans. An entire generation of Pakistani fans who have only seen their side on TV.
And that isn’t the half of it. The current attack is the third Waqar Younis has had to build in his two stints as coach. The first, of course, was torn apart by the spot-fixing scandal orchestrated by Afridi’s successor as captain back in 2010, Salman Butt, who seemed such an impressive skipper at the time. The second was built around the spin of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, the first of them now suspended from cricket while he fixes his crooked action, the second dropped from the squad because he failed a fitness Test. English cricket seems to have been torn apart by injuries, egos, and Twitter accounts. Imagine the state of the game here if we’d had to cope with even half of what Pakistan have put up with.
For Pakistan, the sacking of the best batsman in the side seems to be an annual event. Younis has been dropped five times in the last four years. Which is nothing at all when you compare it to the hokey-cokey going on with the country’s cricket board. In the last 18 months Zaka Ashraf has been appointed as chairman, suspended as chairman, reinstated as chairman, dismissed as chairman, re-reinstated as chairman, and sacked again. They have had five chairmen in the last two years. And yet, despite it all, they still find a way to win more than they lose, and as often as not they do it in style. It’s a mystery. A glorious, inexplicable mystery. Samiuddin has a book out soon, a history of Pakistani cricket, which has, understandably, taken him years to put together. I’ve rarely felt so much relish for a new publication. I’m hoping to find a few answers in it. Because Pakistan are, to this England fan, a team I’m delighted to watch and at a loss to explain.
The Miracle of '92
A brilliant jog down memory lane by Osman Samiuddin about Pakistan's improbable path to the top in the '92 World Cup. We all know how Pakistan were almost eliminated from the tournament before turning things around after Imran's famous "cornered tigers" speech (funnily enough, one member of the team claims Imran never even gave the speech to the team!). What is really interesting in this article are the interviews with some of the players and to read about their struggles in the tournament and how things turned around.
Osman also writes about a favorite moment of mine's from the World Cup when the players were celebrating. I wrote this a few years ago in a thread:
Miandad, who had been off the field as Pakistan bowled, worked his way through a throng, flag in one hand, and caught up with Imran. A whole life had been lived in the strange relationship between the two, their productive friction best captured in the politics of Miandad's near-exclusion from the World Cup and his response (five fifties including in the semis and the final, and second-highest scorer in the tournament).
Now Miandad grabbed Imran by his right arm and yanked him around, the only man in Pakistan who could be so informal with him. Imran was momentarily perplexed but seeing Miandad's open arms, broke into a broad smile and locked into as warm and full an embrace as he had ever done on a cricket field, the two men in whom this conspiracy was manifest most profoundly, celebrating a triumph built on the will of one and the wits of the other.
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