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.