Team Pakistan has arrived: De Ghumaa Ke

Published: March 24, 2011
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A Pakistani fan cheers his team on before the start of the Cricket World Cup match between Australia and Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

Not so long ago, Team Pakistan was at its lowest ebb. Poster boy Mohammad Amir, Test captain Salman Butt, and prodigious swing-bowler Mohammad Asif were suspended from the game for their alleged involvement in spot fixing. They were subsequently banned.

As the team was recuperating from this shattered trust, another blow was delivered by  Zulqarnain Haider. It was a dark time in Pakistan cricket with the end looming imminent.

In the face of innumerable controversies and the scrutinising eyes of the cricketing fraternity watching their every move, the team managed to find a way through and won its first test and ODI series’ in recent memory. Yet, when they departed for the World Cup, there was little hope of success.

However, when Team Pakistan undid the Sri Lankans in an intense cricket match inspired by its vibrant captain Shahid Khan Afridi, cricket fans in Pakistan began to hope.

This new born hope came crashing down as Ross Taylor toyed with our bowling as New Zealand thrashed Pakistan in another group match.

Then came the biggest test of the tournament for Pakistan: the once mighty, Australians.

Victory in that match brought renewed confidence to the cricket-mad country. We were euphoric.

March 23, Pakistan Day,  was a big day for Pakistan not only in 1940 but also in 2011.

In what was, arguably, the greatest victory of the tournament (at least against a Test playing nation of reasonable standing!), Shahid Afridi lived up to his promise of at least playing the semi-final of the World Cup by beating the Windies.

This may well be a defining moment in Pakistan cricket’s chequered history.

The team and the management deserve accolades for their performance and the tactically shrewd decisions made before and during the game. This victory also espouses the oft-presented theory that in cricket “the best defence is a good offence.”

Team Pakistan has taken giant leaps forward in the last few weeks. Though we all pray for them to be crowned champions, we, as Pakistanis, can be proud of the way our team has silenced its critics. Ian Chappell, take note!

As we brace for the semi-final, the second quarter-final between India and Australia will be watched with eagerness and bated breath. Regardless of who the opposition is, if Team Pakistan plays how it has in the last two games, there is no reason why the Pakistani flag will not be flying in Mumbai on April 2.

If, Team Pakistan does not make it beyond the semi-final, they will still be heroes.

Considering the adversities, criticism and uncertainty that they have faced this year, reaching the semi-final is no small achievement. Well done, Team Pakistan, you have made us  proud!

Pakistan Zindabad!

momin.khan

Momin Ali Khan

A barrister-at-law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn who is currently practicing in Islamabad.

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