Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lord's - a dream come true

In less than an hour, Pakistan and England will start the first test of their series at the home of cricket, Lord's.

For all cricketers, it is a dream to play at Lord's. Some realize this dream early in their careers, while others at the twilight.

For Pakistan's 42-year old captain, Misbah Ul Haq, this will be his first test at Lord's. His first in England.

Unfortunately, Pakistan don't schedule international test tours as frequently as other Asian teams like India and Sri Lanka. It is unfortunate that in a test career that began in 2001 and has spanned 60 odd test matches, with the majority since 2007, Misbah has not played a single test in England or Australia.

However, at the same time, it is a dream come true for him. This tour marks a full circle of Misbah's captaincy tenure, which started after the demoralizing tour to England in 2010. Since then he has led Pakistan's team in whites with aplomb and is today the most successful captain in Pakistan's test history.

Many cricketers dream of playing a test at Lord's; Misbah would not have thought that he would realize it at 42. 

Another cricketer who probably thought that he would never play cricket again, let alone play at Lord's, is Mohammad Aamer.

Lord's is the scene of his crime that almost ended his career way too prematurely. Having served his punishment and returned to white ball cricket for Pakistan since the start of the year, Aamer is all geared up for his return to test cricket at the venue where he lost 5 years of a promising career.

The build up to Aamer's return has been as expected with a number of current and former England cricketers and the British media reminding the world of what he did in 2010. The England captain has also warned Aamer about the possible abuse he may receive from the crowd at Lord's.

Pakistan's cricketers have been supportive like a bunch of elder brothers looking to protect the problem child. While other supporters, like myself, cannot wait to see Aamer back in action.

Aamer might have dreamed of playing for Pakistan again, but he would have never thought that he would resume his career at Lord's!

Shan Masood recently spoke about living in St. John's Wood, walking and jogging around the neighborhood, and thinking about playing at Lord's every time he passed by the gates. That is quite some story for this opener who has gradually cemented his place in Pakistan's Test XI.

For Shan, stepping into Lord's as a Pakistan test cricketer, is a very filmy story. I can just picture this Pakistani kid standing outside the Lord's gates and imagining himself playing a cover drive before continuing on his jog and dreaming about playing cricket for Pakistan.

Shan dreamed about playing for Pakistan, he dreamed about playing at Lord's, and today he will realize that dream is Pakistan's first choice test opener.

Besides Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Wahab Riaz, and Mohammad Aamer none of the players from Pakistan's test squad have played at Lord's.

Today is going to be a dream come for all of them, however it will be a bit more special for Misbah, Aamer, and Shan.

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