Stories about international cricket

Dear West Indies, you took a chance on us, and we are eternally grateful! Love, Karachi

It’s slowly creeping in, one match at a time. Flags are being rolled out. Hats, paint and whistles are being bought. There are inconceivable traffic jams, and mercifully long ticket lines. You’re afraid to be excited, for fear of it being taken away. You silently pray everything goes smoothly. Putting on your green jerseys, you wear your flashiest smile and plead with the cameras, convincing every foreigner that you are safe, and they will be too. You look around at the sea of green around you, and fight back the tears as, after almost a decade, you once again hear ...

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When PSL came to Karachi, and the city felt alive again

Not too long ago, the city of Karachi was the hub of fear. Residents constantly feared for the law and order situation, and people would think twice before stepping out at night. The festive nature inherent in the spirit of Karachi only made this situation tougher, as in light of growing terror, the festive mood and the lights of the city slowly faded away. Years ago, when the doors of the National Stadium finally closed as well, the people of Karachi eventually forgot what it feels like to turn the lights back on.   Until now. It definitely felt more like ...

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Will the Islamic State flag in Islamabad hinder Pakistan’s progress?

There is the lush screen scenery. There are the picturesque Margalla Hills. There are the curve-friendly roads on these hills that remind one of Vital Signs and Junaid Jamshed. There is the crisp and cool weather. There is a particular calm never found in other major cities of the country. Then there is the Lal Masjid – the antithesis of everything in Islamabad – loud, angry and not at all pretty. It was only a matter of time before this happened then, an Islamic State (IS) flag dangling in Islamabad, even though it may or may not have anything to do with Lal Masjid. Things in Pakistan have generally looked better off late. The military ...

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#KarachivsLahore: Three reasons why Karachi is not ready to host international cricket

To an ordinary person, September 12, 2017, may seem like yet another date, but for us Pakistanis, it was reliving the past, contemplating the present and gearing up for the future all in one. Pakistani cricketers pose for a photograph with trophy after winning the third and final Twenty20 International match against World XI. Photo AFP History will remember this date because 15 of the most skillful and courageous men stepped onto the ‘barren land’ with the aim of not only ousting the Pakistan cricket team, but also to eradicate the looming threat of terrorism from the land ...

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World XI: Siyasat, junoon aur Lahore

In a few hours’ time, Pakistan’s most cosmopolitan city will brace itself for a tussle between two political heavyweights, Kulsoom Nawaz and Yasmin Rashid. This democratic NA-120 is a by-product of the decision to disqualify a democratically-elected prime minister. Furthermore, it promises monumental changes to the country’s ever-turbulent political climate. The streets are indeed decked with scores of signs and banners, hinting at the nearing of something colossal. These banners have faces and a few badly thought-out catchphrases printed on them. It all sounds familiar, but feels rather different. These faces do not evoke feelings of annoyance in the people ...

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Given PSL’s success, Najam Sethi is our only hope to bring cricket back to Pakistan

While Ali Sethi managed to save the first episode of Coke Studio season 10 with a beautiful rendition of Ranjhish Hi Sahi, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recalled his father, Najam Sethi, as PCB’s new chairman. It was clearly a great week for the Sethi family.  But this is not the first time Sethi has found himself at the helm of PCB’s affairs. He has competed with Zaka Ashraf for the position in the past as well, which definitely caused a lot of embarrassment for Pakistan on the international front. Sethi generally garners animosity from the masses because of his affiliation with the Sharifs and the absence of ...

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Dear PCB, when will you learn that it is not all about the money?

Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a 100% increase in the salaries of domestic players and coaches alike. Furthermore, the contracts of the players and coaches have been extended to a year-long period from the pre-existing six-month period. On the surface, this looks like a great move on PCB’s behalf, but this move alone will not improve the dilapidated state of Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Domestic players and coaches always complain that the greatest problem they face is a lack of funds and how this issue has severely hampered the development of cricketers. Now with this increase in salaries, the onus is on ...

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Remembering Mushtaq Mohammad, the legendary epitome of Pakistan cricket captaincy

Pakistan cricket had been the backbone of international cricket for several years. This boom started from the 70s, up until the early 2000s, primarily because of its ability to produce superstars and due to its unpredictable nature, which drew the attention of millions of fans worldwide towards a game that is not played by most countries. Let’s take a look back to where and how it started. After a horrifying decade of cricket in the 60s and the rise of field hockey in Pakistan, cricket was in grave danger of going extinct in our newly formed state. Fortunately for Pakistan cricket and even for world cricket, Pakistan appointed ...

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Pakistan’s first ever pro-wrestling event was a success, but does it have a future here?

It was back in the 80s when the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) visited Pakistan and conducted three shows at the Liaquat Gymnasium in Islamabad. This was the first ever contact pro-wrestling match with a Pakistani audience. Unfortunately, due to the political and security situation of our country, we were cut off from wrestling tours in the future. We then began to rely on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for our dose of wrestling. Sure, legendary Antonio Inoki and his crew visited Pakistan back in 2012 and conducted a show under the banner of the Punjab Youth Festival but that was, let’s face it, more of a political gathering as ...

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As captain, can Sarfraz Ahmed steer Pakistan to victory in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy?

Pakistan’s archaic style of ODI cricket is up for a stern test in this summer’s Champions Trophy. The team is grouped with South Africa (ranked number one in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings), arch-rivals India, and Sri Lanka. A realistic assessment might be for the team to win at least one out of these three games – more likely to be the one against Sri Lanka – but that would also mean having to do away with the optimism of a Pakistani cricket fan. Regardless of how bad we think our team is, almost every fan will, as always, ...

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