Over the past few weeks, I’ve come across people who’ve shown unmeasured passion and devotion towards the national cricket team. No one’s to blame, the season calls for the fever. From impatiently waiting for the official kit to the planning of the very first match against India a couple of weeks back, all forms of excitement have been displayed ingenuously. All obviously and most unfortunately ending in despair. Yet the fervour lives on. How and why, are questions turned into stories untold.
1952, the year that saw the birth of Pakistani cricket. The year that attracted due attention towards the continuing arsenal of talented yet mysteriously charismatic players. These players have devoured batting line ups and have smashed runs, owning the scoreboards. They’ve dared the world to break their records with the bat and have broken ribs with an unbeatable pace. Of course, not to forget the bringing home of the cup about twenty two years back. (Hope that doesn’t make you feel old.) Yet, they remain the most mercurial team ever to have stepped onto the field. Their unpredictability is an added browie point to their credentials.
You and I live in a country where the only relatable good news are the news of our cricket team’s victory. Helplessly sad, but true. We impatiently wait, rather long for a breather. A breather that only these gallant lads can provide. The lads that have battled their way up to the top and back. They’ve struggled, cried, fallen, risen and have won over and over again. A probable prelude to the untold stories.
With eyes glued to the screen, we’ve shot endless and glorious fours and sixes on the back-foot with Afridi. We’ve kissed boundaries through the covers with Inzi’s impeccable timing and decisive footwork. You can’t deny holding your breath while the Pindi Express eased through his majestic run-up only to bowl a not-so-awaited bouncer. As a nation we’ve splintered innumerous middle stumps with the Sultans of Swings and have gasped in equivalent awe with the rest of the world over the powers these gods so omnipotently possess. Where then, does it all go wrong?
It’s nothing short of discomfort and betrayal when we see our heroes give away triumphs. Sure winning and losing are all part of the game, but as long as it’s a game. They’ve been deals that have ended in crushed souls and teared eyes. What part of “We love our team!” don’t these people understand? Are we inaudible or have they turned a deaf ear towards us? What ever it is, ironically, we crash and get back up the very next day.
Ever since cricket took over hockey as our “national game”, we’ve cribbed and fret over every single loss. We’ve vowed to never look at the game and it’s players ever again. Repugnance and abhorrence have been consistent gifts from us. But deep down inside we all know the truth, the weakness that is the game. Clichéd it may sound, we presumably tread on a line where love and hate collide.
Despite losing two games already, one can easily sense the love for the players and the game. We will still stay up and refrain from missing out on a single delivery. All because it runs through our blood. It’s just who we are. No matter how dark our surroundings have become, there’s a light that comes from within. Scientists are yet to find the source of this light, but you and I know what it is. It’s the energy called green.