by Rida Ahmed
There I was a few days back at the WACA with my Australian friends and my very amazing (if I say so myself) “Boom Boom Afridi” poster. These friends of mine aren’t very much interested in cricket… then again, how many Australian teenagers are? So I took on the role of explaining things, such as the rules to them along with also boasting about our incredible team.
My friends think I was just a crazed fan
Obviously they had no idea what the ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ was all about and after my constant rants about what an amazing player Shahid Afridi is, they decided I was just a crazed fan and ‘Boom Boom’ had no real significance.
As you all probably would have heard by now, Pakistan wasn’t doing too well. “Don’t worry! Afridi, our secret weapon, is still to come out!” I’d keep repeating. I kept telling my friends and the people around us the magic that is Shahid Afridi, with his countless fours and shocking sixes. No surprise, it wasn’t long before he came out (and luckily the song Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas played and my friends realised I wasn’t just mental). This is it, I’d thought. He’s going to save our team and he’ll probably announce our power play and give us a good lead. He’ll make around about 50 runs, easily.
Without going into much detail, let’s just say it didn’t go down like that. It wasn’t long before he got out. How many runs had he made? One. After those four minutes my poster was pretty much useless for the rest of the match.
Later on, as if that wasn’t bad enough, my Boom Boom hero went ahead and in a moment of god-knows-what-kind-of-madness, publicly made an attempt at ball tampering. Of course, I haven’t heard the last of it at school, with people continuously asking me about “The Pakistani guy eating the ball like an apple?”
As a cricket fanatic I do go on reminiscing about the times when our national team made Pakistan
proud, with the most recent of these memories being the Twenty20 World Cup and later even, our under 19s defeating India and making it to the finals.
Boom Boom Afridi
Many people have even suggested getting rid of our national team altogether and replacing it with our more determined under 19s. But on again-off again we are, no doubt, the most unpredictable team in the world.
I could go on about why we aren’t doing as well and justify our losses. We hardly get to have matches as much as other teams, because countries our reluctant to play Pakistan. Our team doesn’t get anywhere near the same level of training as Australia for example. Not all our cricketers play cricket full time and many have another job. And in regards to the recent five day series? Well, It’s been made public with the IPL season 1 and the current Twenty20 world cup, that our strength are with 20 over matches as opposed to one days. Perhaps it is due to the team’s fitness levels that their stamina fades and therefore longer matches are worse for them.
How will we be able to compete with the world’s top teams when most of the time, we don’t even get a chance to play them? Take the Indian Premiere League’s upcoming season as an example. If you own a team and you actually want to be able to have a chance at winning, then it’s a pure fact that you would attempt to have Pakistani players(the Twenty20 CHAMPIONS) as key components of your team.
Cricket is the second official religion in Pakistan.
Especially when you have someone like Afridi, who is in the top league of players yet no one else is bidding for him, you can get him easily at his base price. Clearly, it’s not as if no one wanted Afridi or any of the other 10 Pakistani players in a competition like IPL where the strength lays in spinners and good batters. So then, is it really a game of IPL Monopoly? So much for ‘Aman ki Asha’. There’s a reason they say sports and politics aren’t supposed to mix.
Even aside from skills, IPL’s other big feature is it’s entertainment and as was seen from the first season, no one is more entertaining than the players from the Pakistani team. I say this with the best of intentions, it is our players that bring out the entertainment with their spontaneous actions and dramatic ways. It would’ve been for IPL’s own benefit and the sport itself, to have the Pakistani element.
I will watch IPL just in order to see it suffer due to the missing Pakistani ‘Touch’
I’m still not sure if I’m joining in the efforts of ‘Boycotting IPL’ this year. I suppose I should as it’s insulted my pride as a Pakistani. However, it is because I’m from Pakistan, where this sport is the second official religion, that I can’t bear to miss cricket at its most commercial point!
Patriotism vs. Passion? Which way should I go?
Perhaps I will watch IPL just in order to see it suffer due to the missing Pakistani ‘Touch’.
Here’s hoping for the best for the future of Pakistani cricket. Until next time,