Pakistanis are on a high these days after Pakistan cricket team’s three consecutive wins at the T20 World Cup. Pakistan is on the top in their group with three out of three wins against India, New Zealand and Afghanistan. We still have to play the remaining two matches against Namibia and Scotland next week (November 2 and 7) before the semi-finals.
Pakistan cricket team broke its jinx by beating India for the first time in a World Cup match. And what a win it was! We restricted the India side to just 151 runs and we chased the score without losing a single wicket. The second match against New Zealand was even more special as this had come after the team pulled out of its tour to Pakistan last month.
In September, cricket fans across Pakistan were heartbroken after New Zealand’s disappointing decision to abandon the Pakistan series over “security threats” just minutes before the first One-Day International (ODI) match was about to begin in Rawalpindi. Following New Zealand’s unilateral decision, England also decided to cancel their men’s and women’s teams’ tour to Pakistan in October. New Zealand was to play in Pakistan after almost 18 years while England’s men have not played an international match in Pakistan since 2005 and their women’s team were to visit the country for the first time.
It was not just the cricket fans who were disappointed; apart from the huge financial loss to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) because of these cancellations, it must have affected the Pakistan cricket team as well. After the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009, Pakistan has had to play their ‘home series’ away from home for many years. Cricket came back to Pakistan due to the efforts of Najam Sethi and others at the PCB.
We Pakistanis criticise our team a lot when they don’t perform well but we need to understand what our players have been through for more than a decade now. They have been away from their families for months on end due to home series in the UAE; they have had to rebuild the team after the 2010 spot-fixing scandal; Pakistanis are kept out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) due to political reasons; and they have had to face discrimination in cricket because of India’s influence at the International Cricket Council (ICC) – Pakistan does not get enough bilateral series and enough international matches to compete with other teams. Under such difficult circumstances, our team has won the ICC Champions Trophy, ruled the Test rankings, made the Pakistan Super League (PSL) a huge international success and much more. We are proud of our Men in Green. They have cheered us up in the most depressing of times. Pakistan Zindabad.