They return as heroes
It was a match that will live long in my memory.
Pakistan slipped out of the World Cup after a nerve-wracking loss to archrivals India.They now return home as heroes nonetheless.
The defeat is not under debate: we lost fair and square. However, the team that returns home is now a special one. They are special because they wore green and marched into the yard in Mohali, with their heads high, sending shock waves of intimidation to their opponents.
Shahid Afridi’s leadership and the team’s performance in the 2011 World Cup was awe-inspiring. They continued to defy all odds, defeating the unlikeliest of opponents and losing when defeat seemed implausible. They lived up to their tag of being the most unpredictable team in the world. It makes them one of the most entertaining sides to watch in the game of cricket. No one can deny that fact.
It is important to go back in time and look at the haywire journey our cricket team has gone through. The odds were against us all the way, but we still managed to shock many and get into the semi-finals.
Think of the turmoil the Pakistan team has been through. The 2007 World Cup was marked with the sudden death of our coach Bob Woolmer. This upset was followed by a year which saw no Tests in 2008. This was then followed by the Sydney debacle. And we were rocked by one of the most damaging scandals in cricket history when three of our players were banned on grounds of involvement in spot-fixing.
Our talented team was on the brink of utter collapse.
Yet here we saw them yesterday, walking right into the PCA ground with smiles and twinkles of glory in their eyes. They stood before millions of fans ready to fight India in a World Cup semi-final battle. This is a journey which deserves nothing less than applause, appreciation and love.
They are our heroes. Our heroes who won many but lost one or two. They are our heroes, regardless of whether they come bearing the golden trophy or not. We should welcome them as heroes, and nothing less.
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