I am proud of you, Lala!

Published: April 1, 2011

I praise and cheer our team and captain as they fly back.

Even though Pakistan cricket has been kicked in the gut for the last few years, our players are ever-ready to put up a fight.

Afridi and his men gate-crashed in to the semi-finals against all odds, topping their group and sending home West Indies with a 10-wicket win – the first ever in the knockout stage of a World Cup in the process.

No sane person ever writes Pakistan off.

The semi-final against India saw vintage Pakistan. Our bowlers restricted a strong Indian batting lineup to a below par score despite six dropped catches! The Mohali crowd was stunned into silence when Wahab Riaz produced a gem of a delivery to knock over the stumps of an in-form Yuvraj Singh, taking two wickets in two balls. His five-wicket haul kept India limited to 260 despite Umar Gul proving to be expensive. The batting started well before it imploded, resulting in a 29 run defeat.

Things happened that left the fans dizzy.

Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq played as if they were trying to save a Test match rather than win an ODI. And the question on everyone’s mind is: why didn’t Afridi take the batting Powerplay while he was at the crease? A few quick runs at that time could have shifted the momentum in Pakistan’s favour.

I’m sure you can point out more errors, but let’s leave the dissection of the performance for another time. Now is a time to celebrate and support our team rather than be critical.

The two teams that were billed to be the favourites at the start of the tournament have now reached the final and Pakistan stands in good company. We beat one of the finalists in the group stage and almost defeated the other one. Pakistan ended Australia’s dominance in World Cup matches and that eventually led to Australia’s ouster from the final of a World Cup after 15 years!

Afridi led from the front by becoming the leading wicket taker of the tournament (although he may relinquish his spot to Zaheer Khan during the final) and his emotional and sometimes out of the box captaincy, which has been criticised, did the team a lot of good.

Afridi is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and his heart beats only for Pakistan. He is ready to back his players whenever required and must be given a long run to mold a team more competitive than the current one.

I praise and cheer our team and captain as they fly back. They gave us a lot to cheer for and be happy about for the last month. They gave it their all and were beaten by a better team. It is  time that we give them a hero’s welcome.

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

A Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of the MPH program at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He tweets @amynmalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • kazmi

    well written .. :) Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    Boom Boom Afridi, we are proud of our boys, they deserve a hero’s welcome. Btw did any one catch Talat’s show last night, he showed clipsfrom Indian news channels and their massive Anti Pak propoganda esp on talk shoes, no wonder Afridi told the boys to switch off the TV. Just for the record, thats not how you treat guests in your country.Recommend

  • Indian fan

    Kudos to Afridi for a superb world cup campaign. The way Afridi has lead his side in the tournament, he has become a hero for not just Pakistanis, but every cricket lover. He may have lost the match but he surely has won millions of hearts. Although I was supporting India, I was also cheering for Afridi. I never thought I will ever say this, but after watching Afridi and his lovely daughters after the match, I am feeling kind of sad that we won.
    Good luck to Afridi and hoping for a better future for you.Recommend

  • M Bilal

    Exactly… Its not the time to be critical but to give our heroes a warm welcome… Indeed, we are all proud of you LalaRecommend

  • N M Javed

    I smell racism from the title.Recommend

  • Faraz

    yes I am agree with the article … Boom Boom Afridi Khappey :-)Recommend

  • Hassan

    Just came back from Lahore Airport.Welcoming our boys :D
    Was a lil sad tht Afridi lives in Karachi and dint come here. But was more than happy to cheer the rest of the team.Recommend

  • sultan

    nice written….boom boom afridi….our nation is always proud of you for having such a courageous personlaity ………Recommend

  • abhinav

    This was really great Pakistani performance! Keep it up :)Recommend

  • Ateeb

    Nicely written! you have summed up the entire journey of pakistan in wc and whatever blunders took place in the semis. .Recommend

  • Alamdar

    Great article Dr.Malik … thumbs up !!!
    We Love U Afridi … and yes at the end it was a GAME … and yes seeing the ENTIRE Pakistan together on that day … was like a Dream come true !!!!! Pakistan’s situation reminded me of John Lenon’s Vision of “IMAGINE”(somewhat close to it I must say).. eventually meaning to say … that we still are ONE….

    Pakistan Zindabad … and special thanks to Afridi and the Boys to let us open and bring out the REAL Pakistani INSIDE us ALL !!Recommend

  • http://absarahmed.wordpress.com Absar

    Just few words: Proud of you, Lala! :) Recommend

  • Moazzam Salim

    For the time being lots of people have accepted the forcefull campaign in favour of the Pak Team. A campaign that seems to be coming from Geo Tv or at least they are a major player in this. One also has to bear in mind that the Jang Group is also a participant in the “Aman Ki Asha” campaign which was launched almost simultaneously with the promotional campaigns for the world cup!! This campaign in favour of the Team is also backed by the Federal and Provincial Governments and one wonders as to why we are falling over one another to reach out to India? what is the hurry? the future will be a better judge of this but for now the people of Pakistan must “feel” happy that they have lost a fixed semifinal and that the match fixers are the saviours of Pakistan. I wonder whether they could have staged a better dramatization? The bad acting and foolish directions were there to be seen by even a layman like myself. For a corrupt practice to be so obvious and bold it has to be supported by the Regulatory Bodies (PCB and the Sports Ministry) and one has to ask about the extent of this rot…if at all it is rot. I am sure for most of the guys in power and at the helm of things this was just business as usual.Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    It never ceases to amaze me why whenever Pakistan loses everyone starts shouting that the match was fixed. Losing is part of the game. Even the best team in the world slips at times. You just need to accept it. Recommend

  • qaisar farooq

    @Dr. Amyn Malik:
    you are right Amyn…we must have to back boom boom,hope our team will do much better in next tournaments and i am pretty sure we will win T20 world cup.Recommend

  • http://www.socialpakistan.com Huzefa Muhammad

    well written. Lala, the greenation is proud of you and the team. Way to go Pakistan cricket team.. Pakistan Zindabad…Recommend

  • AB

    @Author,

    Your article sounds like a self consolation at best. You seem to feel lucky that Pak got upto semifinals, atleast that is what comes out from the article…
    comments like beat one finalists and almost beat (??!!) the other reflex a self pity mindset to say the least!
    For some reason, every one seems to be hiding their real feeling and pretending they are happyRecommend

  • http://na sikandar

    @AB:
    its you who is pretending that you are unhappy but otherwise I guess all are happy with the performance, a team which was dogged by the scandals and other things and which was not expected to anything big did come a long way and I am sure that Pakistan is proud of our boys.Recommend

  • Mimi

    We are proud of you Lala :)Recommend

  • Moazzam Salim

    Dear Dr. Sahib,

    Your convictions on the honesty and integrity of Pakistani players is commendable but it is common knowledge that all of the Pakistan matches (in fact some say whole of the world cup) in the worldcup were fixed. And if you have any doubts about this allegation then do watch the Pak-NZ and Aust matches again and you will find a lots of questions unanswered about this sordid affair. Just as they did in the NZ match, the team dropped a large number of catches and then batted as if in a daze. Please do not sweep this filth under the carpet and speak out now. Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    I am just wondering why Pakistan didn’t fix and lose the match against Canada then for the money there would have been much more than the New Zealand match?

    But that is just me…Recommend

  • Ehsan

    @sikandar:
    Afridi and co have quitely managed to get away from the public wrath.. by some timely comments to the press and so on other wise this team lacked any intensity that a professional cricket team should have. Apart from a couple of players who performed yesterday, can you name any one who showed commitment that the Indian team showed?

    Every one is happy hiding their emotions …. good for them.Recommend

  • Owais

    @ M Salim; No I don’t believe any match was fixed. Rehman Malik himself was involved deeply in the investigation and was probing the team time and again, He called Afridi three times while they were in india just before semi final.
    And besides, I see no good reason why would they fix it this time. For money..??? Of course not…
    by the way whatsoever our team has faced in the last couple of years e.g Shoaib akhtar and Asif scandals, Afridi ball tempering thing and the spot fixing and getting insulted from all across the world, this time the mere idea of messing up would have bear them a grave nigthmare…:(Recommend

  • Raqib Ali

    Lala Afridi Khapay :))))Recommend

  • J

    Heroes = Afridi, Hafeez, Asad, U Akmal, Gul, Akhtar, Rehman, Ajmal, Riaz
    Zeroes = Kamran, Younis, Misbah, RazzaqRecommend

  • ZAK

    @ M.S
    At this point of time out of 18 crore may b few of u are the people who might alwayz give the same kind of comments and laid down the Pakistan Team Dignity. We all know what ever is happening in PCB or other places but we shud not hide from the fact that Our boys did their best in this world cup and nobody can say that every match is Fixed. This the prob dat when we r wining nobody allegates dat the match was fixed and suddenly we lose complains start ! Nws We r proud on Paki Shaheen that they have done excellent job. We wish them best of luck for the upcoming tournaments. Recommend

  • Fahad Nizami

    Boiling Point

    I quote Mr. Moazzam,

    “I am sure for most of the guys in power and at the helm of things this was just business as usual.”

    Quite right you are. I am not sure why as Pakistani’s we shy away from facts or have we lost the least moral courage just to recognize them either? Or let’s just accept that like western nations we have also reached the stage where media manipulators control our emotions from the obvious? Loss in semis would become secondary, once and if we ponder our situation. Come on Pakistan, get out of amnesia.

    As for the reception and well wishes for Green team we are just going through post-traumatic stress and an inability to decide for ourselves is being controlled by the manipulating media. Lala and his green team are just as pawns of the game like any other 180 million.

    Mr. Sikandar, it is understandable, in the comfort of your living room its consolation enough for you. I dare you to be in a popular Pakistani restaurant in Jeddah, now being (after the loss) visited frequently by dhotiwalas just to pass a remark on Green and then post how you feel. It is us who face what our nation does back home. Get out of the box guys, or should I say CAGE !!Recommend

  • http://saidcanblog.blogspot.com Said Chaudhry

    AB, nobody gave us a chance before the world cup began. The experts said we’d lose to SL, they said we’d lose to Aus; but we snapped their 34 game winning streak. They said it would be a lopsided match against India in their backyard and their glorious batting. None of which was true. So what self pity are you talking about? Pakistan lost to India and still came home to hero’s welcome because they exceeded all our expectations. The author has described the feelings of all Pakistani fans quite well in his article. Kudos. Recommend

  • Mustafa

    To expect all the happiness from these players in our country would be unfair. They’re playing with such limited resources and yet producing a show like that shows the character.Recommend

  • Naveed

    apart from natural born ability of a player or a team necessary to win a high profile tournament, character, honesty, and the moral sternght to rise above personnel gains is of fundamental importance. its true that the performance of the Pakistani team was a refreshing surprise and if although they played well, the team is devoid of the above mentioned qualities for quite sometime. ….they never deserved to win.Recommend

  • http://natashasuleman.wordpress.com Natasha S.

    Proud of you Lala. Still love you!Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    Those advocating the semi-final was fixed, can I please see some proof beyond media speculation and idle living room chit chat where everything is a conspiracy theory. When there was genuine room for a conspiracy theory 2 years ago, everyone dismissed it as a lot of hot air blowing. I dont even circumstantial signature of it being fixed.Recommend

  • Imran Azim Butt

    I am proud of Afridi and our team the way they reached the semi-finals but I am not proud of the way they played the semi-finals like a school team. Despite a few amazing performances , six dropped catches, late power play, misbah toying with the many early balls ensured that we do not put up a good fight and lose the match against India , who played exceptionally well.

    Kudos to Sri Lanka playing a real final and putting up a resistance till teh last ball. I wish our players would have played like them and lost the semi final and I would have soluted Afridi and gang …. I do salute them for making it to the semi final but not for the way they played teh semi final…… like losers. To my fellow Pakistanis who are so full of praise for Afridi and gang, I would like to say that is ok to criticize them for the dismal show they put up in the last match they played. We need to criticize what is wrong and appreciate what is right………… You guys make it sound as if we either won the match or we lost by dying trying to win…which clearly is not the case………….. So grow up and accept defeat and the let down Afrid and team dished out to us…………….. I am a proud Pakistani and take it on the chin …….. even from losers……..Recommend

  • fayyaz mangi

    No doubt. Kudos Pakistan for emerging from nowhere in the world cup to end Australian winning streak and reach semi-final. One team has to loose in the game of two. India played better on the day and won. Let alone Misbahul Haq’s selfish venture in semi final You don’t have to say sorry Shahid Afridi as you lead a written off team in a manner it became favorites for the world cup. The nation must salute captain who picked a team burnt out by spot fixing scandal to become a shining star of the world cup. We did not win the world cup but you led us in a manner that we became serious contender as champion. Keep it up Afridi.
    Fayyaz Mangi
    Karachi Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Over the past 4 world cup I missed a Pakistani Cricket team captain who was on his toes all the time. Afridi ended the drought. Thank you AfridiRecommend