#SavePalestine: Why can’t our sportsmen be political?

When Dwight Howard tweeted #SavePalestine, he drew, in equal amounts, plaudits and condemnation from social media. He soon deleted his tweet, called it accidental and issued a retraction. Soon enough, #Howardthecoward started trending on Twitter. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t! A prominent sportsperson had aired his views on a sensitive political subject, and by issuing a retraction, had later on failed to stand by it. Dwight Howard (R) Back in 2003, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga had worn black armbands during a World Cup, mourning the death of democracy in their native Zimbabwe. Not only were they not criticised, they were lauded for ...

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Here is how cricket can help the minorities of Pakistan

Cricket fever in Pakistan is remarkable; in fact, the entire subcontinent is quite smitten by this sport. Cricket fans exist in every nook and corner of this region. In the past, we have seen how cricket has been used to create awareness, raise money for different causes and even be utilised to increase diplomatic ties. Because the game is so popular, cricket has helped in bridging many gaps and bringing different people closer together. A recent example of this is the cricket series underway at the Iqbal stadium, Faisalabad, which is aimed at raising funds for the IDPs of North Waziristan. In this ...

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Nightmare at Langham hotel? England left scarred and scared!

Twenty four hours after England’s limp capitulation at the hallowed turf of Lords, the pundits are wondering what frightened the hosts more; their five-star Langham hotel or the long locks of the once gentle and genial giant of India Ishant Sharma? Throughout the Test series, there were cries of anguish emanating from the English camp, well before Sharma’s seven-wicket spoils, as two burly all-rounders with a fair amount of brawn on their bodies, Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad, were left ‘concerned’ about some paranormal presence in their hotel rooms. Broad told an English newspaper that the Lords Test against Sri Lanka, that preceded the ...

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Yes, I don’t like watching football if Pakistan isn’t playing

The FIFA World Cup 2014 was a sporting spectacle watched by everyone. From youngsters to elderly people, everybody’s eyes were fixed on the television as some of the best players in the world fought for eternal glory. Seasonal fans came out to discuss the matches in detail, while some enthusiastic football critics even took to television to voice their opinions. I, too, watched the games and was amazed by the quality of football on display. But while everyone cheered Argentina, Netherlands or Germany on and cried tears when Brazil lost, I remained neutral. Why wouldn’t I be? My beloved Pakistan was not in the FIFA ...

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Pakistani women, cricket and their dilemma

To stand in the sunlight, over the lush green grass of a cricket ground, surrounded by hordes of people cheering you on while you aim to annihilate the stumps with that ball in your hand is no longer just a man’s dream. Today, women too aspire to have a career in cricket and recent events have shown that they are very much capable of becoming great cricketers. The Pakistan women’s cricket team made it to the limelight when the national squad won medals in the 2010 Asian Games and brought glory to their nation. This was a major milestone, not just for the ...

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Are you a true football fan or a Pakistani football fan?

In Pakistan, summers usually have a few trademarks. These include myriad lawn brands, juicy mangoes, skin infections and a never-ending spree of load shedding. This year, however, a peculiar viral disease hit the urban areas of Pakistan in form of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Pakistan is not amongst the ‘big boys’ in football and the national team has never qualified for World Cup matches, yet the football fever still, somehow, hits Pakistan each time there is a football tournament taking place. The English Premier League has only recently attracted a substantial number of followers from Pakistan, but people have been following the ...

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Germany deserved to win

The disappointment of the lacklustre opening ceremony was short lived and, from the opening goal of the tournament to Germany lifting the cup in the finals, it was well compensated in every manner possible with great entertainment and thrilling matches throughout the tournament. The World Cup could not have begun on a more dramatic note, with Marcelo scoring a first own-goal by a Brazilian in the history of the tournament, watched by over 62,000 Brazilians live. But Neymar also struck twice during the match and as distress turned into ecstasy for Brazilians everywhere, we experienced what it meant to be part of such ...

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In Messi I believe!

It has been a long time coming. Since Euro 2008, the Germans have been hovering around the edges of supremacy. Their only crime being that Spain, forever the underachievers had been pegged by fate as its darling. What Jürgen Klinsman started at World Cup 2006 resulted in a finals defeat to the Spanish in Euro 2008, a semi-final defeat to the same opposition at South Africa 2010 and the Italians in the semi-finals of Euro 2012. This time, however, the Spanish have been vanquished by their own doing. The once-famed Brazilians have been annihilated in an absurd seven minute stretch of play that will linger on as a scar ...

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Where did the voodoo go wrong?

A skilful elemental shaman is a fearsome thing; he can smite the mightiest of warriors and bring down the holiest of priests, a man equally capable of healing the weak and of destroying the powerful. That, however, is only true in World of Warcraft. In reality, shamans are the ‘holy’ equivalent of the homeless man who talks into his cup. This World Cup though has seen its fair share of priests and shamans claiming use of their ‘powers’ to influence matches. It started off with a Ghanaian witch doctor claiming to be behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury worries before Portugal’s match ...

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Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

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