Pakistani cricket’s greatest addiction

Who says you can’t win cricket matches if don’t score 300 runs or more.
Published 15 Jun, 2017 03:35pm

It was for the good of the family. Everybody got together and made that decision. Well not everyone but the ones who matter decided and everyone followed. They said that this skill is now archaic. The financiers of the family pushed for it. Money talks. The sponsors said they wanted full viewing of their brand, maximum eye balls. The world moved on. Everyone but one impish child. The child cowered at the time but the inner self remained resilient against the idea of dropping this skill, this addiction.

The change brought a lot of riches for the other members of the family. But this child looked at them with a mixture of anger, envy and frustration. He looked at them like they were laying open the goose that laid the golden eggs. But the end was different in the short run. At least for the best part of a decade, the dying goose still laid eggs. This meant that the whole family catapulted into a new age. One with endless resources and riches.

But that child was left behind. Some self-inflicted, some outward damage made him the odd one out literally, as all family members opted for something he was so fundamentally against. Whatever they did, was viewed by suspicion by this one. Why do they change the rules every so often? Why do they change it in a way that harms me only? Why do they hate me? Why do they hate my guts? Is it an Indian conspiracy? Well they can’t buy a win away from home so I can’t be sure. Is it an all-white conspiracy? Whatever it is, whoever it is, this has left me reeling. I am all alone in a corner, sulking, may be even contemplating an end. An end which would make the world poorer, may be that will show to them my value. After all, the skill I possess is unparalleled and invaluable. Take it out and the world seems shallow. So maybe I should just give it up. The current condition is a pale shadow of the soaring past. The repudiation of the whole idea made for schism. But this time there were only two factions, this child vs. everyone else. You see the man lying at the side of road, torn cloths, messy hair, at the mercy of the world, that wouldn’t be a description too far from what this Pakistan side looked like.

I am sure that you get the analogy. The addicted child is Pakistan and the family is the ICC board. The addiction: Bowling. No need for more analogies. I have made my point. ICC with all its plans went in the other (batting) direction. White ball cricket became a competition between two batting sides. So what do we do? Pakistan Cricket, how does it respond? Does it do away with its addiction? Then who are we? Do we have an identity? We would have lost what we were good at. But we haven't progressed with the world with the bat. So we would be behind both counts. It was decision time. Pakistan cricket decided we'd increase the drug dosage in shape of Saeed Ajmal and Yasir Shah. Captain Misbah, used the ultra-aggressive approach of modern batsmen against them by the 'dry kill'. It made us number one in the world.

We celebrated. Still didn’t feel like fulfillment. There was something missing. The real addiction, the real high, the real kick for Pakistan, is when a young man runs in from close to the boundary, hurls the ball at the batsman, it deviates in its path like a noxious snake and sends the stumps cartwheeling. That is stuff of dream that is the legend of our addiction. It swing, especially the reverse kind. So we employed that. Wayne Parnell, was just collateral damage. He was there was a dummy, with not real purpose to fulfill, except to play prey to the predator. Hasan Ali, creating a global fandom, reversing the ball. Yet being a simpleton wishing his brother a happy birthday, in the post-match interview. Pakistan are rising, their bowlers breathing fire, fielders have found some bout of energy and batmen just about keeping their heads above water.

Pakistan has single handled taken world cricket back to the 90's. All the progress that South Africa made, the dilscooping Sri Lankan batting line up, the ultra-aggressive English men, all brought back to down to earth, with a moving cricket ball. The druggie at the corner of the road, is trailblazing through a global event. The addiction has given them a new high, and on its way snorted out the favorites and more. Can we keep the dream alive for one more game? Can we breeze through that India barrier?