Stories about fans

Why cricket is better than football

I read Azeem Abbas’s blog, “Ten reasons why football is better than cricket”, and felt compelled to write a lighthearted response. So, here are ten reasons why I feel cricket is better than football:  1) The Pakistan factor: I grew up as a fan of the Albicelestes (Argentina National Football team), and love following Inter Milan, Barcelona, and the English Premier League in general. But no matter how many Barcelona jerseys I buy, or how many Argentina flags I stick on my car whilst struck with Football World Cup fever, there is just something about cheering for your own country in a sporting event, ...

Read Full Post

Ten reasons why football is better than cricket

1. It is a game of one single format rather than four formats. You don’t need a test football or a one day international, T20, first-class, second class, third-class or umpteen class football, just a simple game of 90 minutes and a nail-biting penalty shootout. A timed game is acceptable to a game that lasts for days. 2. It garners more television coverage. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was watched by an estimated television audience of 700 million people around the globe compared to a meagre 65.6 million people (out of which 80% of the viewership was from India alone!) ...

Read Full Post

Barca vs Real: Top tier clash

Match-ups between Barcelona and Real Madrid have traditionally elicited more emotional involvement from fans of both these football giants, than any other club fixture has ever been able to do. It is perhaps because of the ‘political enmity’, if that phrase can be used, between the Catalans and the Castilians. Whatever other reasons exist for the charged atmosphere regarding the ‘El Clasico,’ just the quality of football is enough to leave at least the neutrals licking their lips. This season however, the fixture between Real and Barca is to be played five times as the two sides meet in the final ...

Read Full Post

Will the real Afridi please stand up?

* Anas Abbas contributed to this blog post. “I think I am a cricketer first and then a diplomat. I am an ambassador for Pakistan, so I should know what to say. I think it’s a great sign for both countries and sports, especially cricket always brings these two countries together.” So spoke Shahid Khan Afridi on the eve of the World Cup semi final against India. Mere days after winning the hearts of numerous Indian fans with his generous remarks after the semi final loss, Afridi struck out wildly when he went on record to lambast Indians on a TV talk show. “If I have ...

Read Full Post

We don’t have cricket in America

My first day in Karachi coincided with the biggest cricket match that Pakistan has experienced in decades. Picture this: The Express Tribune web room awash with young, energetic staff wearing emerald jerseys over jeans and shalwar kameez, hurriedly filing stories so they can rush off to their government-sanctioned cricket holiday. They’ve all got one eye on the tiny TV mounted at the ceiling, not wanting to miss the toss when the bumbling, jet-lagged American, slips behind a desk and says in a deep-fried drawl: “Yey y’all, what’s this cricket thing about?” A marvelous way to endear myself to my brand new co-workers, isn’t ...

Read Full Post

Mohali match: A game of mental robustness

The crowd is overwhelmingly boisterous and the air is strikingly charged with emotions — it is conspicuously unnerving. I’ve played in Mohali and Pakistan should expect nothing less in their semi-final against India. Pakistan will stand before thousands in the stadium, with over millions watching their every move on television. Cricket, in this case, transcends physical fitness, on-field performances and statistics. It becomes a game of mental robustness. Pakistan have defeated the strong teams and the weaker ones, they have performed well with the bat and the ball, and we witnessed outstanding effort in the field in their quarter-final. So the ...

Read Full Post

Pak vs India: Dynamics to be transformed today

When I played cricket, the sport existed on a completely different sphere. Our biggest matches had radio coverage and the nation hardly knew us by face. The passion was there, but the coverage was limited. Today, a cricket match is more than a game — especially an India-Pakistan match. It is a battle between nations, between the people of the nation. Media has sensationalised this nerve-wracking semi-final and the emotions are going haywire. The dynamics before today’s match have transformed significantly. Every child in the neighbourhood not only knows all the players by face, they have idolised and found their heroes ...

Read Full Post

Magic in Mohali: I watched Pakistan beat India

In November 2007, I went to Mohali to watch a Pakistan versus India match. Walking to India We crossed the Wagah-Attari border by foot – a monumental step in my life.  I was struck with mixed emotions, the joy of visiting India and extending our message of peace and love. At the same time, I remembered the stories of hardship my ancestors faced while migrating to Pakistan in 1947. It took nearly six hours of waiting, tedious registrations and formalities amidst heavy police protection at the Indian side of the border. A large number of Indians were walking towards the border for the evening ...

Read Full Post

Can a Pakistan India match really help us be friends?

Pakistan and India have never had smooth diplomatic ties and are obviously insecure about each other; their rivalry is so intense that it has brought them to the brink of nuclear armament. So what can a game of cricket do for two countries that are not friends? Not much. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to watch the Pakistan versus India showdown on March 30in Mohali, India. The arch-rivals have not played each other in India since the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and the outcome will surely be construed ...

Read Full Post

World Cup conspiracies: Bal Thackeray is an ISI agent

Everyone is talking about arch-rivals Pakistan and India facing each other in a World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Here are a few golden statements that Pakistan cricket fans are making: Pakistan was given a place in the semi-final as a reward for releasing Raymond Davis. Reaching Mohali a week before the match is no good; the Pakistani players may get paid off. Indians are good at black magic – check out how their pundits throw amulets on the Mohali pitch. The Mohali pitch has been developed to assist the Indian players. Pakistanis will lose the match because they know the Indian crowd will beat the ...

Read Full Post