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Gatecrashing the party

Gatecrashing the party

Many critics and fans alike may term Pakistan’s backdoor route into the semifinals of the Twenty20 World Cup as a travesty of justice, a lucky break, a gross coincidence of errors, maybe even a cardinal sin. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who is of that opinion. In fact, I’d nod my head in solemn agreement if an incensed non-Pakistani cricket follower got in my face and spluttered his discontent about how we hadn’t even earned our place in the second round, let alone the semis.

Pakistan’s ascension to the semifinal has been a story of failure, desperation, kismet, and fortuitousness. In getting this far, we have defied the bookmakers’ odds, as well as our own meagre form, and confounded most analysts. By refusing to go away despite several attempts to slam the door in our faces we have probably irritated and upset a lot of people.

And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let me tell you something: merit is way overrated. “You get what you deserve,” “you reap what you sow.” Whatever. We won the last Twenty20 World Cup on merit and where did that get us? I’ll tell you where.

For one thing, we were publicly humiliated by being excluded from the Indian Premier League. I mean, couldn’t the franchises have just told us that we were too much of a security and political risk to invest in? Why make us go through a farcical auction process. They had to embarrass the Twenty20 champs by laughing them out of the auction house and telling them that none of their franchises had a place in their squad for the men who mastered the format.

“No Shahid bhai, Rajasthan would rather bank on the explosive talent of Aaron Finch.” “Sorry Razzaq, Delhi feel that Andrew McDonald is the next Richard Hadlee.” “Can’t help you, Umar Gul. Kolkata would rather spend its vast reserves of cash on keeping the redoubtable talent of Ajit Agarkar in the team.” By the way, how did the season turn out for you guys, then?

So if you’re looking for a travesty of justice, look no further than our snubbing at the hands of Lalit Modi’s circus. Which is why I’m quite pleased at the manner we’ve stumbled into the semi-finals. It’s like our team collectively slapped the rest of the cricketing world in their faces. Earn ICC silverware? Not on your life. We’ll play club cricket and still manage to outlast the better teams.

Secondly, you know another problem with success based on merit? Once you achieve it, you start to expect more of it. You begin to think that the momentum earned through hard work is going to pay off in this future. You’re on cloud nine and brimming with confidence. And then Australia happens and you get smacked back down to the bowels of the earth. It still hurts to reflect on what the country expected from the team in that series in Australia and what we ended up getting. Our massacre down under will leave a scar on the national psyche so deep it will take years to erase.

Or perhaps just a potential final or semi-final victory.

Does anyone still believe that to be unlikely? Unlikely is our middle name, apparently. And now that fate has conspired to put us in a position we don’t deserve to be in, it is only fair that we return the favour by eliminating a team that is rightfully entitled to be in a similar position. It’s not like we haven’t done it before.

You’ll hear a lot of 1992 World Cup references over the next few days, a tournament in which we weren’t the masters of our own destiny and were counting on various permutations to progress to the semi-finals. We also weren’t a good team by any stretch of the imagination over the first three quarters of that tournament, but managed to pull it all together when it really mattered.

Things have come full circle since then. Now, we’re coming off a string of three successive losses and our most recent victory was against a puzzlingly uninspired South African side. Umar Akmal and Afridi may have impressed with the bat, but 140 odd wasn’t a competitive total by any means. Yet, against all reason, it proved adequate. There was a point when AB DeVilliers threatened to make a game out of it in the space of one over and the Pakistan team’s hearts were in their mouths. However, AB played a needlessly cute ramp shot into Kamran’s flimsy hands and suddenly we had toppled a giant.

Then came the waiting and praying game. The freedom fighters who gave their lives for liberation from British imperialist hegemony in 1947 must have turned over in their graves upon feeling the aura of pro-English sentiment emanating from Pakistan. Luckily for us, our prayers were answered and we managed to sneak into the semi-finals like a bunch of thieves.

So I say merit, justice, and logic can go to hell. Been there, done that, don’t want to go through the repercussions again. It’s time we turned back the clocks and attempted to win a tournament like the good old days of 1992. Back in those days, no one had high expectations and yet we ended up winning the whole tournament. Face it, unpredictability is in our blood. We have madness down to a science. If our players are going to be accused of being ‘retards‘, might as well win the trophy in as retarded a fashion as possible. Here’s to a Duckworth-Lewis technicality taking us to the final.

Farooq80 Farooq Nomani is a Karachi-based lawyer who is willing to represent the PCB for free. He blogs at whatastupidity.blogspot.com.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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296 Responses to “Gatecrashing the party”

  1. Abid says:

    Yes Pakistan lost, but as a deserving semi-finalist. Pakistan was not eliminated from the tournament from the super 8 stage. Even the mighty Australians lost the final, so did they perform below par in the tournament?

  2. Iqbal says:

    Ian Chappel’s comment that “Pakistan Played dumb cricket in Australia” continues to ring in my years.
    We played a bit more intelligent cricket in the SF but there were still many errors committed.

    Misbah should have been thrown out much earlier and we should have played Sami. Even the young Azam would have been a better option to Misbah whose total score in last 2 matches prior to the SF was 3 in 18 balls!

    Moreover Afridi forgot the record breaking last over spell by Aamer against the Aussies in the qualifying rounds. No matter how many runs were required, Aamer should have been kept for the last over. The Aussies would have been less daring!

    Afridi also forgot to do his “advice run” to the bowler after every ball, in Ajmal’s last over, the time when it was needed the most!!!!!

  3. Nikki says:

    To all Pakistanis, The Bottom Line is you lost too. Period. To the author. Please stop being churlish and write good articles from now on. Atleast try. Wins and losses are part of the game and the best team in this tournament won. All hail to the English for winning.

  4. R S JOHAR says:

    An incredible performance by Pakistan in the S/F. One can only but feel sorry for them on losing this match which they richly deserved to win being the underdogs.

  5. Sheikh Chilli says:

    We ruled the game for 38 overs!!! “dil ko bahlane ke liye galib ye khayal achcha hai “….

  6. Zohaib R.Q says:

    “So I say merit, justice, and logic can go to hell.” haha– you rock!!
    Though we lost,, we ruled the game for 38 overs, gave them nightmares… no worries next time inshAllah..;)

    • Abid says:

      “we ruled for 38 overs”,everybody had that view except for White and Hussey. Anyway, well played Pakistan! Lets hope we will achieve an unbelievable victory like this in future.

  7. Muthu Kumar - Chennai India says:

    Amazing performance by the Never say die Aussies. Just couldn’t believe Pakistan lost this match. Well, atleast the Ball Biter did not apologize to the whole Muslim world for the loss like Shoaib who mixed religion with sports.

  8. Aslam says:

    Why are we so obsessed with IPL ? Are we being greedy for Indian money ?

    Let us note that at the end of the day IPL is Indian Domestic Tournament and we should not be interested in playing any other country’s domestic tournament.

    We must bury our 24X7 obsession with India and concentrate on our own team.

    Farooq is fulfilling his duties to spread venom instead of suggesting how to set ourselves in order.

  9. tarun says:

    They way Pakistan played in Semi Final has impressed me a lot. Pakistan was winning in 39 overs out of 40, only last over changed the game. That was the best match I have ever seen. If two teams are playing like this then winning or loosing does not matter. Playing with such caliber matters. If there is any other team that deserves T20 champs then it is Pakistan. Even after loosing that match Pakistan has won in many Indian eyes.

    Here is my Salaam to entire population of Pakistan on behalf of Entire population of India.

  10. jssidhoo says:

    Watched the match till the end last night but it was not to be so close yet so far don’t know what happened to Ajmal in the last over he had bowled so well but well played Pakistan would have been great if the Aussies had been put in there place.

  11. Sam says:

    The deserving team won yesterday, don’t think Pakistan could have done any thing more. They were totally outsmart by Mr Cricket.

  12. PThind says:

    A very average article. I didn’t really get the point except that ,’Pakistan may have got into the semis by luck, but who cares’. I think they got there b/c they deserved it. An article on these lines would have been better. Pak is a strong 20/20 side.

    Also, article is needlessly inciting an India/Pak debate with respect to IPL.

  13. Great stuff as usual…

  14. gopakumar says:

    Pakistan came to semifinals by winning just two matches. T20 is all about unpredictability and Aggression. Aggression nothing but personifies a typical Pakistani.

  15. Indusonian says:

    For today’s semis. All I can say, well done Pakistan, even though the game was lost, but, there is no other better way to loose.

  16. Puneet says:

    I like Himans comments here…Why you guys are also criticizing IPL ? Even Indians dont talk about IPL as much as Pakistanis !!! Has it hurt you guys so much ? I will see what will be the reaction of Pakistanis next year when Pakistani cricketers will be selected for IPL.. Will you start watching IPL and start praising it all over again ??

    Coming back to the World Cup T20 and India and Pakistani team. What I really mean is that neither India nor Pakistani teams are any good. They cant play on genuine bouncy tracks. India got to number 1 in tests and no 2 in ODI by playing on dead sub continent pitches.

    Here in t20 again. India played its super 8 matches on the deadly barbados pitches which really bounced them out of the competition. Pakistan lost its super 8 matches on bouncy pitches and won again at the dead pitch in St Lucia..Somehow that proved to be good enough to get them to semis.

    Semi Final was again at st Lucia and Pakistan managed 191. It i the same pitch where a very poor Indian side also managed 180+ against SA and Srilanka.

    Pakistan if it wins over Aus on deadly pitches of Barbados can it deserve to be called a champion.

    Anyways enough said..sorry guys it wasnt a repeat of 1992 world cup but a repeat of 1999 world cup for Paki :-)

  17. Nasr KiKi says:

    Down and out. It is sad; a cliffhanger that we Pakistanis thought will be won by us. The close end shows that Kismat is not always Meharban.
    I will go for an English win let us see the final
    Thanks

  18. Hamza Dhedhi says:

    Good stuff.

    Only if the critics are watching the match right now.

  19. Madhu Sreedhar says:

    Good luck Pakistan..

    Back door or front door does not matter at the end.

    Even the 1991 team under Imran had their share of luck to qualify for the later rounds. So focus on the game and grab the opportunity with both hands and keep the T20 title in Asia.

    Cheers..

    Madhu Sreedhar

  20. Eman Khan says:

    Let’s bring back 92 (: Good Luck to Pakistan (:

  21. M. Asghar says:

    We are having an all-around arm-chair fuss. As to the game, we shall see how consistently the team will perform in their coming matches. Moreover, for the future of the quality of criket, India and Pakistan should organise annual or even semi-annual test and one-day series as intelligent rivals instead of cursing each other.

    • Essaarr says:

      Pakistan played absolutely brilliant cricket yesterday. Congratulations from many Indian admirers. Does not matter that you ultimately lost by a few runs. Your team lifted the standard of the game and we enjoyed greatly.

  22. Moiz says:

    Win or loose…we all support our team. Pakistani team has the talent of giving something to be happy about and this is the sole reason that even after seeing our team loose in the initial phases of this T20 tournament we expect that they will WIN!!! We have our fingers crossed Afridi….go go go BOOOMMM!!!

  23. ANWAAR MALIK says:

    As a nation we always under estimate our potentials& are defeated being impressed and suppressed from the European teams.

  24. ANWAAR MALIK says:

    As a nation we always under estimate our potentials & are defeated being impressed and suppressed by European teams.

  25. Arif Kazmi says:

    What the hell ! I love this article. And remember today’s venue is where the wicket is slow and we beat even Bangladesh there. If the ball comes up just a little slower, the Aussie projectiles may be hit for a six. And if it spins, we could drill holes through their bats.

  26. Tuba Jamal says:

    Best wishes to Pakistan

  27. Zia Naqvi says:

    I think this article best represetns us. No matter how we came into semi finals what matters where we are heading towards…………………

  28. Maha Khan says:

    Best wishes to Pakistani team.

  29. maryum says:

    Well I really enjoyed all the Indian comments.. what a jealousy…… Yes Pakistan did not played very well but we believe we can do anything with support of Allah.. you can see Indian team performance in big ICC events like last T20, Champion Leagues and Now T20 2010….. we are not jealous with Indian team performance:) but praying for our team…

  30. syed says:

    Ball-biting Afridi will definitely take Pakistan to the finals . lol


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