First of all, thanks to Allah

another skewed perspective by kinkminos

So Pakistan finally defeated Australia in a test match. “Hallelujah,” if you’re an ethnophobic Anglophiliac like myself. “Shukr alhamdolillah,” if your thot processes have more of an Urdu-medium bent.

The attendant frailties exposed during the match are immaterial to the majority of cricket-mad Pakistanis. The lack of commitment and self-belief; the absence of any sort of plan or an attacking approach; the insha’allah masha’allah subhanallah state of mind… kiss the ground as we bow to the heavens in gratitude to the only force we accept as relevant in any clash, confrontation, encounter or conflict.

So what? We’re Packies. We play (and follow) cricket the way we live our lives; with an unshakeable belief in the almighty and his ability (if inexplicable lack of willingness) to influence events in our favour. And an equally unshakeable lack of belief in our own ability to control or transform them.

Voices more (and less) articulate than myself will expound on what this hard-won victory means to our grated nation and the cause of Pakistani cricket. How important it is for the team as it heads into the full series with England. On whether Salman Butt represents the future. On the tendency of our front-line batsmen to fish impotently outside the off stump when subjected to even the lightest pressure.

Let me state at this point, in case I have not made it clear, that I too am, without qualification, thrilled at the win. All the rest of it is irrelevant because I have accepted, after a lifetime of patriotically following the Pakistan cricket team’s progress, that this is the way the team plays, and will continue to play in the foreseeable future. Allah will be kareem (insha’allah).

What I do want to express is related to the way our perspectives seem to have skewed in recent times. In the twenty-four hours since the reticent Umar Gul lucked into a gap between off side fielders, the thing more Pakistanis are discussing than anything else is how well newly anointed Test captain Salman Butt spoke during the post-match presentation ceremony. As if that is the single most important attribute required of a captain of the national test side. (Some people I know have been saying, only half jokingly, that this is one of the reasons Butt was chosen to lead the side.) I say to hell with it. Give me Ghazi Inzamam’s “Firstofallthankstoallah-myboysisplaywell” over Butt’s commendable but not-relevant-on-the-field-of-play eloquence any day.

On a related (however tenuously) note, the most amusing thing for me was the gamut of emotions expressed by S. Butt and those around him as the match approached it’s ultimate climax. Aamer’s fortuitous edge to third man, which levelled the scores, brought a huge smile to Butt’s face, as he turned to those around him and graciously accepted anticipatory plaudits and japhi’s. Said smile continued to broaden over the course of the next six deliveries until that stunning catch by my khassi at gully. I swear I have never seen a smile wiped off a man’s face so fast.

Our utter lack of self-belief as a people and a nation was never more apparent.


Cross-posted up at the campfire



Filed under cricket, sport

7 responses to “First of all, thanks to Allah

  1. “the thing more Pakistanis are discussing than anything else is how well newly anointed Test captain Salman Butt spoke during the post-match presentation ceremony.”

    Hell, we groomed the guy for years for this very moment and mashallah, it has come. We kept him on the team even when he was going through some very bad slumps, because we had belief, that Salman would someday deliver a winning-captain speech in passable English, to make the whole country proud. We could taste this day coming for a long time, and Salman delivered. He has showed the whole world what Pakis can achieve with determination and perseverance.

  2. i think this grooming process could form the basis of a nifty monty python skit…
    g. chapman as s.butt
    j. cleese as i. butt
    e. idle as s. afridi
    and m. palin as the quintessential cricket fan.

  3. Naeem Sahibzada

    Grooming, discipline and conduct are most essential for any sportsman or a public performer. These attributes seriously compliment a sportsman or a performers skills and excellence in the sport and must be emphasized on as mandatory. Proper communication has even a higher priority.
    We all know fully well that quite a few come from very humble origins and need a lot of polishing. Nothing wrong with that.
    The problem is that after they attain national status and given their such extensive national and international exposure with most playing in the counties in England for decades every summers, if still they cannot get even the hang of speaking a few sentences correctly then i am sorry it is a shame and they are unfit to represent their country at the international level no matter how well they can perform on the field. There is no lack of talent in the waiting.
    It simply shows sheer lack of discipline, acceptance of unwanted attitudes and traits and of course very poor leadership. Given such a exposure, even a parrot or a monkey can be made to achieve that in a month.
    We were comparatively better off in this regard in Imran era or prior to that and please note that the results and conduct of our players also reflected the same.

  4. I agree. I would have loved to script that skit, but sadly, I have neither the imagination nor the skill.

  5. kashifiat

    A masterpiece of rotten, close minded (or absent minded), third rated liberal / secular lobby master piece of self centered elite class of Pakistan.

  6. “Grooming, discipline and conduct are most essential for any sportsman or a public performer. These attributes…”

    young man you write wonderful satire. keep it up.
    : )

    actually i think this mandatory use of english is good thing.
    why should we packies suffer ridicule in an english language world for saying “whiz-it” instead of visit, and “playyar” instead of pleasure?
    why should we express our thots in the kink’s urdu instead of in the queen’s english?

    btw, life is so much more meaningful when we can thank the e.c.b. in grammatically correct english.

  7. dear kashifiat,… thank you SIR!
    (or madam)

    my drivel has never been referred to as a masterpiece twice in one sentence.

    i think i’ll tank up on lassi’s and pop down for an english in celebration.