It’s been many years of wanderings and misadventures for Pakistan cricket. In Kashmir, and similarly in Pakistan, people see modern-day pakistan cricket as a betrayal.
As a game they know not how to play, adapt, evolve per se, in which they have been transcending sanity, as long as one can remember, and verging always on madness.
They have lost matches which could have otherwise been won, which have been won, in the age old history of cricket, by even the most haphazardous cricketing nations.
That recklessness though, with any of them, was not a routine. It happened like once, twice, at worse. Pakistan cricket, to the contrary, mistook it for the legacy that their comrades, like Hanif, Fazal etcetera, had bequeathed for them.
They committed steadfastly to this recklessness, this self devastation, suicidal poetry, a feeble throb, a rise and ebb, a psychedelic phenomenon which over time came to be known as ‘unpredictability’, a farce, a sorrow , epidemic running through the country and so on if you were to ask me, so blatant in its manifestations that at times, most of the times in fact, you would want to throw yourself off a cliff and, simply, die.
Even that ‘unpredictability’ enthrall has grown boring now. I mean there is no one to pull off an almost maniacal Afridi maverick. The testimony comes from how, after all these years, I have seen my father go quiet on Pakistani cricketers.
He no more spits at the likes of Ah. Shezad, Hafeez and Wahab Raiz. He no more does that ‘thoke laanat’, I grew up listening to if ever Pakistan was playing anyone and losing, and not even, mind the emphasis, if now the likes of Imad go for three sixes in a row, if a certain Azhar Ali plays numberless dots in a limited over game, if, recalling an older instance, ruthless poms go berserk over the formidable Pakistan bowling line up.
He looks around, sighs, and turns off the T.V.
Now that these blokes, in pursuit of an inexpressible joy, an economical and performative order, are in the finals here, is an earnest and a wistful prayer that they win the Champions trophy title 2017, that’s to say, after losing to India, giving up on putting up a fight they always have put up against India ( in yore ), not conscious of having been defeated, then struggling to chase down something around a measly 219, struggling against a tall lanky SA pacer they call Morne Morkel who, I feared, if it had not rained would have went through, and ripped, the cloistered Pak middle order and more stable than middle order, a feisty, but ever starving, tail like a hawk against its prey that she knows would not wrestle itself from the savage claws of defeat like it had never, pointedly, in the recent years.
Like it did not, against SriLanka, chasing 236, if Amir had not withstood and absorbed all the pressure inflicted onto Pakistan cricket, throughout all these years, post Yosuf’s retirement, by its dreadful middle order.
How things escalate and go worse, and turn ugly from bad, and modestly okay ‘events’, in cricket, like a steady opening partnership, an ineffable leap forward, towards an imminent victory, a gutsy fifty from one opener, impenetrable defence from another and then, as long as it takes you to return from the loo (remember the Wasim Akram joke? yes, that..), everything is all over the place.
Seven down, tail exposed. That’s Pakistan.
The Kafka’s K from The Trial. It has all the (dis)abilities to transmogrify you into a borderline cynic.
Until they didn’t win yesterday, until they weren’t yet over the line I was unsure if they’d actually win, unsure, and in utter disbelief, if they were actually winning.
At 205-2, almost over the line, I was still holding onto ‘wuen gase kihin te’ meaning to say ‘no matter what, anything can happen’.
Because, as we usually reason and argue, you know, we say …. well, this is Pakistan after all.