The psyche of a Pakistani cricket fan and the shameless vanity of passion

Published: March 26, 2014
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When we play, we play for one thing – passion. It’s in every ball we play.

To understand the psyche of a Pakistani, you first have to understand what it means to love and hate at the same time. This is not semantics. It is truly a reality. To understand the degree of pain our hearts have already endured, you have to understand the depth of hope our hearts are still willing to go to. Finally, if you want to understand the paradox that is Pakistan, you will have to take the leap of faith and understand that one cricket field with a few men in green has the capacity to undo more mental damage than all the prayers your hearts can make.

Photo: AFP

Being a Pakistani cricket fan is not for the weak at heart. It never has been. Like an old man suffering from dementia, Pakistani cricket will tease you with a look of normality, smile at you with warmth and respond to you with all the hints of sound and reason. However, only the foolish will fall for such fabrications. In fact, it is in the sheer destruction of anything that is structured and sound, that the wrath of the Pakistani crescent and star rips its way into our hearts.

Photo: AFP

We know. Yes, we Pakistani’s all know one particular thing:

Take the controversies out.

Take the drama out.

Take the money out.

All of those characteristics have their place in some form or the other.

However, when we play, ultimately, we play for one thing – passion. It’s in every ball we play. We win passionately and we lose even more passionately. Like the lover, whom you could kill with your own bare hands yet couldn’t imagine a minute of life without, Pakistani cricket demands every second of our attention for better or worse.

Photo: AFP

We, the Pakistani fans, have accepted our fate of endless commitment to our lover, unsure if she will ever reciprocate the same love back to us. Yet, we know passion seeps through her veins and so we hold on. We hold on in hope that, like kerosene to a flame, the passion ignites its way into a moment of perfect illumination. We know that the high of that moment, albeit temporarily, will remind us, and indeed the rest of the world once again, what it means to play like nothing like else matters. Indeed, like what it means to play simply for the benefit of making magic from a bat and ball.

Photo: AFP

When the dust settles on all of the corporatisation that is cricket today, we Pakistanis come back to our gulleys and our parking lots, or any place we can find a makeshift pitch, and we play cricket.

We play cricket because it makes us happy.

We play cricket because we have to.

We play cricket because we know no one can ever take it from us.

Photo: AFP

For us, this tournament is for a prize far greater than a cup. It is a statement of intent. We know that we might not win, but that isn’t the point. The real point is that we will never lose. Not on the cricket ground, not on any ground. We are fighting for it all. This is our very own metaphor playing itself out in the physical form.

Photo: AFP

For all of the incredibly tough scenarios Pakistan has had to go through in recent years, ranging from politics to terrorism to natural disasters all the way to cricket itself being torn away from our borders, we have an incredibly contagious disease generously diffused across our people – hope. And for now, the hopes of a 180 million people are all being channelled through the eyes of a few men in green on a pitch in Bangladesh.

Photo: AFP

So let’s sit back and watch. Unless of course you are a heart patient, in which case it is advisable to pop a few pills of Valium, and just wait for the headlines on the newspapers the following day.

Uzi G

Uzi G

By day, he is a technologist. Outside of that, he is a writer, filmmaker and general student of humanity. He blogs at usmangulfaraz.blogspot.com and tweets as @Uzi_G (twitter.com/uzi_g)

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

  • Queen

    Well said!! True depiction of what it takes to be a true Pakistani cricket fan :DRecommend

  • Alright, the pictures we pretty cool. But the writing made me cringe more than once.Recommend

  • Shoaib

    I am always sneaking away from work desk to read your blogs….love them!Recommend

  • shaukat

    You have summarized the agony of a pakistani cricket fan well. The miniscule amounts of hope that they cling on to and show up in droves to watch the matches is unparalleled. Great article.Recommend

  • NaughtyCaller
  • A. Khan

    “And for now, the hopes of a 180 million people are all being channelled through the eyes of a few men in green on a pitch in Bangladesh.”

    And despite this adoration, its so sad when the men in green decide to throw games for some other type of green.Recommend

  • Fatima

    Took the words right out of my mouth! :D
    Way to go!Recommend

  • Rps Hundal

    Pakistan’s population has been constantly 180 millions since Bedi’s team toured Pakistan in 1978. Congratulations!!!Recommend