During consciousness and intoxication, mysterious forces within and outside have danced to the intensity of my passion. The symphony of my determination to make them dance has never fallen weak nor faltered.
Monday, May 30, 2011
The Soap Opera: "Pakistan Cricket"
The soap opera that is Pakistan Cricket will continue its season as scheduled. After the excruciating break from regular transmission of the last few months, when everyone was left puzzled with questions such as "why we are winning?" and "why is everyone getting along?". The actors and directors have decided to return to enthral the world audience with the usual shenanigans.
Let's start with our favourite cricketer, Shahid Afridi. Returning to Pakistan after the West Indies ODI series. Afridi, knowing the laws of the cricket board do not apply to him, openly accused Waqar Younis of interfering in team selection matters. Waqar may be considered as one of the greatest fast bowlers. He may have led Pakistan as a captain and knows how to read a coaching manual or two. Little does Waqar know, that his job begins and ends with conducting fielding drills, doling bowling tips and mixing energy drinks. How dare he step on Afridi's toes?! Unfortunately, Afridi has now announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket. Afridi's energy and his charisma will be missed by everyone including Waqar Younas. However, I hope this is not another one of Afridi's hasty decisions that he regrets later. I still see an outside chance of Afridi returning to the team in the future.
Our Pakistani audience is such that they are easily deceived by Afridi's flamboyance. Forgiving his horrible shot selections, and of late, his lip. As long as he gels his hair right and smiles for the camera, we will continue fawning over his charisma and style of play. Spare a thought for Waqar though, he was handed a team in disarray, with no real bowling sting nor any decent batting prowess. Fielding was the only consistent aspect of our game; consistently below par that is. Since Waqar's arrival he has turned them into an intricate motor unit capable of anything. From topping Group A of the World Cup, to being toppled by a weak West Indies team. On some days our fielding looks top class and on others we'll drop six catches in a span of 20 overs. Yes sir, the definition of "mercurial" has a PCB logo next to it.
What of Mr Ijaz Butt? If there was ever a time in Pakistan to allow for geriatric chairmen, debutantes and captains to make their mark. It is now. 72 year young Butt proclaims age brings wisdom in ways unimaginable. In a lucid dream, Ijaz Butt saw a Khan leading the Pakistan team to World Cup glory in Australia. Undecided if it was a divine prophecy or re runs of 1992 World Cup on tv, he decided to go with his wisdom and expel Afridi from his job. Making Misbah the new captain was easy. If one can still run a cricket board at 72, there is no excuse for Misbah (turning 37 this month) to not play the next World Cup or two. So what? Ijaz Butt will argue, Imran was 39 when he won the World Cup in Australia.
Danish Kaneria meanwhile is at his wits end trying to understand what an NOC means. Ijaz Butt should just clarify what he really wants Kaneria to get from his ex county team, Essex, is a life size poster of Pippa Middleton from the Royal Wedding. Get me one too Dany boy!
The Karachi City Cricket Association secretary, Ijaz Faruqi, was last seen sobbing fervently at a presser. He is unhappy, as usual, over national team selection matters. He pleaded the case of wicket keeper Sarfraz Ahmed being deliberately ignored.
"So what if Muhammad Salman, the current keeper, is from Karachi? We should be the first team to play two specialist wicket keepers in every game so long as they are from Karachi!"
Also on the list of players Mr Ijaz thinks are being deliberately ignored, Mohammad Sami & Khurram Manzoor. Need I say more?
Why are the words "Sub Ijaz ek jesay hote hain" ringing in my ears?
Speaking of wicket keepers, Zulqarnain Haider has returned from his brief asylum in England. Apparently all it took was Minister Rehman Malik's assurance of security for Zulqi and his family. Zulqi was last seen playing catch with himself and contemplating which was the worst of his decisions: to throw away your budding international cricket career or accepting security assurance from an Interior Minister who thinks PNS Mehran attackers were characters from Star Wars.
Everyone's favourite scapegoat, Shoaib Akhtar, will be sorely missed after announcing retirement from international cricket. He says it's time to grow up as he has turned 35 now. Though, he will be playing in the newly formed Sri Lankan T20 League. My intel suggest he plans to play the first few of games before tweaking a ligament in his knee while taking an afternoon nap. What would you know about the stresses on a fast bowlers knee, especially when he has to break it down on the dance floor every night?
The tainted trio of Asif, Butt and Amir will begin fighting their legal case in London this month as well. While Salman Butt has decided to skip the preliminary hearings, Asif left for London like a man on a mission, but before anyone could find him in the arrivals lounge, it turned out he had already boarded a connecting flight to Amsterdam. "I need to ease my mind, legally, before I get into any long drawn legal battle" was his last message to my sources. For the high's Asif gave us with his bowling abilities, I wish him and the other's all the best.