Stories published in March, 2011

We don’t have cricket in America

My first day in Karachi coincided with the biggest cricket match that Pakistan has experienced in decades. Picture this: The Express Tribune web room awash with young, energetic staff wearing emerald jerseys over jeans and shalwar kameez, hurriedly filing stories so they can rush off to their government-sanctioned cricket holiday. They’ve all got one eye on the tiny TV mounted at the ceiling, not wanting to miss the toss when the bumbling, jet-lagged American, slips behind a desk and says in a deep-fried drawl: “Yey y’all, what’s this cricket thing about?” A marvelous way to endear myself to my brand new co-workers, isn’t ...

Read Full Post

Jazba just wasn’t enough

Pakistan lost the much-hyped match against India, just as they lost on previous four occasions where they came up against India in any World Cup game. They say history never repeats itself, but it did in this case. However, folly always repeats itself. We made the same mistakes that we always do. Pakistan felt they could go into the game and pull off a win even after fielding like they always do, leaking runs and dropping catches. But one can ride luck just so far. Eventually, reality catches up and the men are separated from the boys. Let’s hope Kamran Akmal is ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan and India: I know you, you are just like me!

As cricketers, celebrities and leaders attempt to build bridges of friendship between India and Pakistan, The Citizens Archive of Pakistan and the Indian nonprofit Routes2Roots have initiated Exchange for Change, a program that encourages dialogue between students across Pakistan and India. Students have exchanged letters focusing on their lives and neighbourhoods, their respective country’s history and their families. The students share their joy for pani puri and are curious to learn about each others’ cultures and the reasons for separation. Here are a few excerpts: A letter from India: “My dear friend, I am an ordinary girl like you from Mumbai, India. I study in ...

Read Full Post

Five things I hated about the Pakistan vs India match

My love-hate relationship with cricket began a few weeks before the fateful World Cup of 1999, and ever since that horrendous final match that had me and all Pakistanis pulling their hair out, I kept my distance with the sport. However, this year was different. But I confess that I caught this cricket fever again. While we lost the “historic match”, there were a few things that bugged me while I was actually watching the game (besides the result). Here are five somewhat irrelevant things that continued to irritate me as I watched the big match tonight: Cheering for the Pakistani team with ...

Read Full Post

What I witnessed in Bangladesh

I would like to use this platform to address some of the comments received on my opinion editorial about my experience in Dhaka at the cricket World Cup quarter-final that Pakistan played against West Indies. Firstly, I would like to admit that what I saw of Bangladesh was only a microcosm of the country – I spent less than three days and only went around Dhaka. If someone told me they went to Pakistan and only saw a bit of Islamabad, I would say, “Well you haven’t really seen the country now, have you? There is so much more the ...

Read Full Post

They return as heroes

It was a match that will live long in my memory. Pakistan slipped out of the World Cup after a nerve-wracking loss to archrivals India.They now return home as heroes nonetheless. The defeat is not under debate: we lost fair and square. However, the team that returns home is now a special one. They are special because they wore green and marched into the yard in Mohali, with their heads high, sending shock waves of intimidation to their opponents. Shahid Afridi’s leadership and the team’s performance in the 2011 World Cup was awe-inspiring. They continued to defy all odds, defeating the unlikeliest ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan vs India: Afridi’s men start off as favourites

As the much-awaited semi-final clash between India and Pakistan draws closer, both captains will be under pressure to make some difficult decisions. Often teams have the tendency to make strategies keeping the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses in mind, rather than playing according to one’s own. This is a tendency that Shahid Afridi will do well to avoid. India’s much vaunted strength in having brilliant players of spin, must not deter Pakistan from relying on their in-form spinners, who have played an important role in the 1992 champions’ spectacular run in the tournament. At the same time, the clamour that there has ...

Read Full Post

Mohali match: A game of mental robustness

The crowd is overwhelmingly boisterous and the air is strikingly charged with emotions — it is conspicuously unnerving. I’ve played in Mohali and Pakistan should expect nothing less in their semi-final against India. Pakistan will stand before thousands in the stadium, with over millions watching their every move on television. Cricket, in this case, transcends physical fitness, on-field performances and statistics. It becomes a game of mental robustness. Pakistan have defeated the strong teams and the weaker ones, they have performed well with the bat and the ball, and we witnessed outstanding effort in the field in their quarter-final. So the ...

Read Full Post

To the haters: It’s a battle of teams, not nations

The semi-final between Pakistan and India – dubbed the mother of all battles – finally takes place today. Every cricket fan and everyone else – who may or may not be interested in cricket – has been touched by the anticipation in the air. However, while the contagious excitement has spread joy, several souls seem to be miffed. In their effort to be ambassadors of peace, they have accused us, the ‘cricket crazies’, of being jingoistic and nationalistic. But they seem to have completely missed the point. What makes this semi-final, or any other Pakistan-India match, such a thriller is not the ...

Read Full Post

Pak vs India: Dynamics to be transformed today

When I played cricket, the sport existed on a completely different sphere. Our biggest matches had radio coverage and the nation hardly knew us by face. The passion was there, but the coverage was limited. Today, a cricket match is more than a game — especially an India-Pakistan match. It is a battle between nations, between the people of the nation. Media has sensationalised this nerve-wracking semi-final and the emotions are going haywire. The dynamics before today’s match have transformed significantly. Every child in the neighbourhood not only knows all the players by face, they have idolised and found their heroes ...

Read Full Post