Tuesday, 23 October 2012

International cricket Reloaded

After the attack in 2009 on Sri Lankan cricket team, Pakistan became a “no-go area” for international teams but long before this the major cricket playing nations like Australia & South Africa became circumspect in touring Pakistan when the New Zealand team was attacked back in 2002.It was quite a blow back to the cricket lovers here in Karachi as it has been hosting matches every year at the very popular National Stadium.
It was a ground that welcomed the top teams like Australia, New Zealand, England, India, Sri Lanka, West Indies & South Africa from 1980-2002. The cheers and the roars of the crowed echoed in the ground and its reminiscence can still be felt. The city that was known as the “city of light” and for its famous “hippie trail” lost everything at the hands of religion except sports but the monster of terrorism succeeded in piercing its jaws deep into international cricket.
It was 21st April 2002 when New Zealand team played its last ODI in Karachi. But since then Karachi could never host the black caps, Kangaroos, English &Protease again because of that ill-fated bomb blast attack on Kiwis during the same tour. Since then only four cricket playing nations named India, Srilanka, Bangladesh & Zimbabwe visited Pakistan till 2009. During this period Sri Lankans were the only nation who persisted with touring Pakistan regularly &tried their level best to keep international cricket alive in country until they were attacked on their way to Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in the year 2009, putting an end to the glorious chapter of international cricket in Pakistan.
PCB and government did little to restore peace and convince the international teams to revisit Pakistan for cricket. Like its tourist destinations, the Pakistani cricket grounds were left barren not even attracting the locals to congregate matches. It was 2006 when hopes of die-hard cricket lovers in Pakistan went high, with the decision of ICC to announce Pakistan as the host nation for world cup 2011. Those hopes even died when ICC later on decided to shift the venues from Pakistan to India, Bangladesh & Srilanka due to security threats.
After that, even our countrymen lost the faith in the restoration of peace as well as cricket in Pakistan until October20, 2012. When under the captaincy of Sanath Jaysuria, top former and current cricket players from South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan played their first World XI match in the ever-known National Stadium.
The stadium attracted flocks of cricket lovers who fervently came to see the much loved sport for continuously two days.  It was a full house for both the matches as youngsters & families had come in large numbers to support their national heroes back to international arena. It was the effort of Sindh Sports Minister and the international players who did their utmost to revive cricket in Karachi and giving National Stadium its old status. We as a nation pay tribute to the international players from all the four countries with special thanks to Sanath Jaisuria who agreed to come to Pakistan with all odds.  We as nation hope that these matches will prove to be a new beginning for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan. We look for a comeback of those days when cricket was much thrived into the veins of every Karachiite and Pakistani with a promise of security for the life of every citizen and visitor, be it a sportsman or a hippie on his trail for enlightment.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Pandemonium of T20 Cup

The T20 World Cup has ended with celebrations for West Indies as they rise to championship by claiming the victory on the day it most mattered. But has it left the same happiness for the rest of us. We could hear up stories of match fixing and Pakistan winning almost all its matches with some of its crucial players out of form.

Boom Boom Afridi failed to show any satisfactory performance by claiming only 4 wickets and 16 runs in the whole tournament was a bit of a disgrace for a player of his stature. With every fixture, our captain, due to immense pressure, lost his ability to make rational decision and we could see its outcome in our last match-the Semi-final.

Not to be sardonic, but I really cheer the performance of Umar Akmal and Nasir Jamshed, had the latter been not sent back to the pavilion in his last semifinal innings due to poor (may be fixed according to indian recent reports) judgment, he may have been declared man of the series (just to exaggerate).
For us, the T20 series ended here but it seems our neighbors, with whom we not only share border, culture but also the ancestors-“Mera Baharat Mahan” could still find something interesting. The humoristic Indians could always find something funny in our loss and that I truly appreciate.

But things soon turned sour and our Indian brothers became mudslingers. They have started blaming a total of six umpires who were ready to be bribed for spot-fixing and match-fixing. Had not been the two Pakistani umpires be involved in this blame, I would not have bothered to write this piece.

 But my dear brothers, you are playing with my patriotism. If these umpires were ready to make wrong decision then I would like to point out to the Indian media that an umpire made a wrong decision for one of our players Nasir Jamshed that cost us the loss of an important match. I would like to ask the Indian media their take on this poor judgment, as the mistake was very clear.