‘Cornered Tigers’… are they really?


The World Cup 2015 will be staged once more in Australia and New Zealand, starting on February 14. The last time the tournament was held in Australia and New Zealand, Imran Khan’s ‘cornered tigers’ clinched the title in 1992.

Pakistan cricket team is already in New Zealand, and have already lost two warm-ups against lowly second string New Zealand side and now they have lost one ODI against hosts New Zealand. New Zealand pulled a formidable seven-wicket win with more than ten overs to spare. The scores show that New Zealand might have brought down another 100 or even more runs, had the visitors scored that much.

Many TV programs and newspapers have been making efforts to draw similarities between Imran Khan’s ‘cornered tigers’ and present captain Misbah-ul-Haq men; of course to get a pie of viewership/readership as the World Cup fever rises.

The ‘cornered tigers’ in their fold, had the likes of pacer Wasim Akram, Inzamam-ul-Haq (famous satirist Nadeem Paracha spells him Inzimam-ul-Haq, but I don’t know why), Javed Miandad, Mushtaq Ahmed, Aqib Javed and most importantly Imran Khan, whose name arose aura and aroma of success and a unique sense of patriotism in the mind of those, who were a part of the 1992 World Cup TV/Radio audience and the subsequent celebrations.

Experience was there in the team then, while it is missing in the present side, considering Down Under conditions. Miandad has recently said the players then had played much cricket in Australian and New Zealand conditions prior to the World Cup. He pointed that that experience is missing among Misbah men.

Were there in 1992 more superstars than this squad? Maybe or maybe not. May be not because when the green shirts left Pakistan in 1992 to feature in World Cup Down Under, they might be similar to the present squad members, which is at the moment in New Zealand. But when they returned, they were, almost all of them ‘superstars’. Inzamam was an underperformer in the beginning, but all is well that ends well and it ended well like a fairytale for the men in green, especially Inzamam, who performed when it mattered the most.

Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup ‘fairytale’ story could be seen echoed in Indian movie ‘Chak De India’ where an Indian women hockey team after initial hiccups win the World Cup title in Australia!

Coming back, what actually prompted Imran Khan to ask his boys to play like ‘cornered tigers’? because they were ‘cornered’ during the tournament winning only one of the five matches they initially played. But then onwards, the team went on to win all five matches including the final to record history. A fearsome animal, tiger becomes more dangerous when ‘cornered’, and that what actually seemed to have happened with Pakistan.

This team, under Misbah has also been ‘cornered’ Down Under even before the tournament began, beaten by second string Kiwis twice and now thrashed by New Zealand. Let us hope they don’t stay ‘cornered’ for long and bring out the ‘tiger’ hidden in them, provided if there is any, when World Cup begins.