Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Beauty of Pakistan Cricket

Only Pakistan can make chasing 250 look like a cake walk, a couple of days after they made chasing 200 look like the toughest job on the planet.

I have learnt to live with the fact that Pakistan cricket and unpredictability go hand in hand.

For the 2 decades that I have followed the game, Pakistan has been nothing but that - unpredictable.

One day, they would throw up a performance wowing the world. On another, they would make us think if they even deserve to play the game.

Therein lies the beauty of Pakistan cricket.

Pakistan never were and never will be the best team in the world. They will never dominate the cricket stage for a decade.

But they will also never be the weakest team on the planet. Nor will they be made to feel like one.

Throughout the Chapal Cup, Pakistan challenged Australia in every ODI, besides the 4th one - besides that game, there wasn't any in which one can say that Australia dominated.

In the first, Pakistan's spinners blew away the Aussies for 168. Australia made it tough for Pakistan to get to the total but they got there in the end.

In the 2nd ODI, considering the way the pitch played, Pakistan posted a defendable score of 200 odd. Australia got there but not easily. They had to fight and Pakistan made them fight.

In the 3rd, with Pakistan at 95-0, it looked like they were well on their way to a series lead. But they threw the match away in true Pakistani style. Australia didn't win it. Pakistan lost it while gifiting their wickets.

The 4th one was where Australia truly dominated. After a quick burst from Shoaib, Clarke and Watson just took the game away for Pakistan.

Coming back from that and chasing down 250 the way Pakistan did today is quite a big deal.

An 8 wicket loss is a big one and Pakistan responded to that with a 7 wicket win themselves.

The batsmen today came out to bat with purpose. It looked like they wanted to win.

Where this attitude and positive energy was on some other days is a question that will forever remain unanswered.

Maybe they batted in this manner because they had nothing to lose, but its not like it hasn't happened before. Remember the Asia Cup match against India that Misbah captained?

So if anyone had the answer, Pakistan cricket would not be what it is - unpredictable.

In the last 2 years we have played ODI series against the top 4 cricket nations - losing 3-2 to Australia, South Africa, and India and 2-1 to Sri Lanka is not that bad for Pakistan, who are struggling to play as much international cricket as other nations.

It is just 1 less game won than the top 4 cricket playing countries.

While when Pakistan has come up against weaker opposition, they have all been swept aside cleanly - 5-0 to Bangladesh, 5-0 to Zimbabwe, and 3-0 to West Indies.

In the same period Pakistan has also beaten India to win a tri nation series, while on the other hand they have failed to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup.

So it isn't half as bad as some people make it sound.

Most of these people who call themselves Pakistan fans have nothing but their own agendas, such as promoting Shahid Afridi as captain.

Mind you, I have nothing against Shahid Afridi as captain, but why not support the man who is in charge rather than look for ways to pull him down?

Pakistan won the World Cup in which they were the worst team on show. And in which they were the best team in the tournament, they lost the final looking like the weakest team on earth.

Both those events happened in the decade during which Pakistan boasted of its strongest ever cricket team.

They were unpredictable then, and they are unpredictable today.

And surely they will be unpredictable going forward.

No board chairman or chief selector or captain or coach or manager can change that. None of us can change that.

Therein lies the beauty of Pakistan cricket.

Make your pitch on this post...

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2 Pitched:

  1. Viswanathan said...

    It is a roller-coaster ride for the Pakistan cricket fan. One moment elation then the next moment dejection.

  2. Q said...

    Its been a 20 year roller coaster for me Ott.. longer for some others..

    I'd prefer that to long periods of dejection..

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