Have a heart, PCB, postpone today’s match

Published: December 17, 2014
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Statements from Moin Khan, Younus, and Afridi published in the media leave little room for doubt that the team is hurting.

My fellow Pakistanis, there is a cricket match scheduled for today. Yes, you read that right. At 4pm, Pakistan time, our nation will take on New Zealand in the fourth cricket ODI in Abu Dhabi.

Needless to say, that such an event is taking place a day after one of the blackest days in Pakistan’s history, just doesn’t feel right.

If anything, sport is a celebration – a celebration of athleticism where human beings compete in an arena of onlookers to determine who has more skill. We watch them simply because we can’t do what they can do. They can hit harder, bowl faster, and run harder than the rest of us.

As children, some of us dreamt to be them, but as our dreams faded with the reality brought on by age, we instead cheer on those of us who managed to live out that dream.

Yesterday, over a hundred young boys were brutally murdered in Peshawar. Surely, many of these boys carried the same dreams of perhaps walking out in Pakistan’s national colours one day to soak in the adulation of millions and better another nation’s men in a contest. Surely, a number of these boys wanted to emulate cricketers such as Shahid Afridi and Younus Khan.

It pains me to consider that the only national colours these boys will be wearing now are the colours of the flags draped on their coffins.

But I digress.

These 11 men who shall take the field today are the best out of a country of over 180 million people. Since they stand for the dreams of so many of us and they represent our nation, in a manner, they are an extension of us.

And for us, there is no honour in taking the field today.

You can tell that the cricketers themselves are not in the right frame of mind to compete. Statements from Moin Khan, Younus, and Afridi published in the media leave little room for doubt that the team is hurting.

NDTV reports that while speaking to Geo SuperYounus said,

“It is a national tragedy and a barbaric act. Playing the match is going to be very difficult. How do you play a match when your spirit is not in the game? That is our state of mind right now. When Phillip Hughes died, it shocked every one of us and we postponed a day’s play in the Test match against New Zealand. It would not be a bad idea to postpone this game as well.”

As Younus says, Hughes’s tragic death brought the entire nation of Australia to a halt. Cricket worldwide, including a Test match hosted by Pakistan, was postponed. Yet, by all accounts, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is going ahead with today’s match.

The PCB may think that our cricket has no relation with yesterday’s tragedy, but they would be wrong.

Dead wrong.

Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

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