Friday, March 27, 2009

Three encounters, and a security check

I just came back from a short trip to Pakistan (with a very brief stopover in Dubai). During the trip, I had three random encounters with cricket personalities, and had one interesting airport security check. Completely pointless, but it's a lazy Friday so thought I'd share them with you.

The first encounter was in Lahore. On a spring afternoon, my cousins and I went to Lahore Gymkhana for lunch. As we walked out, we saw a familiar figure talking to a couple of people. At first I remarked that this individual looked a lot like Salim Malik. But after another second, I realized it was indeed him! He headed toward our direction and I asked him for a quick photograph. He very politely accepted, we chatted for about 30 seconds, and off he was to play golf. Now, let me state this clearly and under oath, NO MONEY WAS EXCHANGED BETWEEN MR. MALIK AND MYSELF IN RETURN FOR THE PHOTOGRAPH!!! :)

The next encounter was with none other than the CEO of PCB, Mr. Ejaz Butt. He was attending my cousin's wedding (he is related to another cousin's in-laws). My father introduced me to him, and I thought about spending 10 minutes with Mr. Butt, but then realized that it might only ruin the mood of the festivities since the outcome of any discussion would not have been too pretty. So I just said my salaams and he was kind enough to respond and do the usual 5 second chit chat. Have to say though that Mr. Butt was sitting alone for most of the time. I'm sure he's just a quiet guy!

My third and final encounter was at JFK airport in New York. This was perhaps the most surprising of all. As I'm waiting for my baggage, I turn around and see that Mr. Steve Bucknor is standing right next to me! Looks a bit different without the hat, and he's a bit taller than I imagined. He did give a bit of the trademark "slow death" treatment as he tried to figure out whether I was friend or foe - he didn't raise the finger, I was cleared! I talked with him and his traveling companion (perhaps his wife) for a few minutes as we waited for baggage. Hot off his Test retirement, he flew from SA to Dubai, Dubai to JFK (same flight as me, but likely on the upstairs first/business deck of the A380 rather than with us common folk), and was now flying to Barbados for the 3rd and 4th ODIs, which will be his last international appearances. I thanked him for his service to cricket (probably should have also thanked him for not giving Miandad out LBW in the WC 92 final ;). His luggage included a massive cricket kit bag with ICC logos. Not particularly sure why he carries it with him...can't imagine he needs much equipment, but to each his own.

And, finally, the security check I refer to? Well, that was at Islamabad airport, as I was leaving on my flight to Dubai. Put my backpack in the x-ray machine, walked through the metal detector, and waited for my backpack. The screener signals a further review of my bag. No biggie, have a look I say. He says he's only interested in my keys. Keys? OK, fine with me. So I open the front pocket of my backpack and point to the keys. He then says that there's something circular and shiny on my keychain that he wants a closer look at. At that moment it hits me what he's looking for. Back in Jan 2005, I visited Australia and went to Bowral (naturally!). I picked up a Don Bradman keychain from the musuem there, and I have attached it to my keys ever since. So the screener took a closer look at the keychain, front and back, and probably realized that an image of Bradman driving a ball is perhaps a dangerous weapon on the field, but not so much on a flight! Thankfully the keychain was returned to me, and off I went on my flight!

Enjoy the weekend, the beginning or end of it - depending on what part of the world you live! :)

Make your pitch on this post...



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2 Pitched:

  1. Naked Cricket said...
     

    a lesson for us, no matter what always look at the bright side.

    Deadly stuff, fatal encounters too

  2. Q said...
     

    That sounds like quite an eventful trip Seldge.. Did u manage to ask Malik what happened with his offer to become head coach at the NCA?

    I feel bad for Ijaz Butt.. at 74 he doesn't need to go through all this.. u shud have suggested retirement to him. Maybe u still can through your cousins :-)

    Entertaining read - thanks for sharing!

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