Sunday, January 29, 2012

You Have to Smile at The Rise Of Pakistan

My life has always been governed by a belief that all people are equal regardless of their colour, creed or faith. This developed in my time as a schoolboy in Apartheid ruled South Africa in between 1964-66, where I got to witness the evils of discrimination, and duly had a flame lit in me that has burnt bright to rebel against it.


The events of 2010 made me rage in condemnation of the treatment of the virtual 'Black Sheep' of the cricketing fraternity in Pakistan. In the wake of the Team being brought to its knees by losing the right to host home games due to the spectre of terrorism injecting its seedy hand into the Nations favourite past time. Worse was to come with a combination of the International Cricketing community turning its back on Pakistan, and then quite literally kicking it as it was down 


Taking the guise of a tragedy of the Pakistani Floods, that was described United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as the worst disaster he had ever seen . You might all be questioning the relevance of this tragedy for the treatment of the Pakistani Cricket Team. Well the answer is the reaction to it from the greater cricketing community, which was tantamount to ambivalence and doing nothing. Appalling, when you saw how they all jumped like cats on hot tin roofs to assist in the aftermath of the Tsunami tragedy that ravaged Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia in 2004. As seen in many games being arranged to raise aide for the affected and appeals being formed, and basically every one running around doing their very best to help out.
It made me ask why wasn't the same reaction given in response to the Pakistani tragedy?????????? 


As this tragedy of monumental proportions was basically ripping the heart out of the Pakistan people on the field a further dagger to the heart was being delivered. In the spectre of corruption raising its ugly head in England costing the Team its two brightest stars in Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir as well as the Captain Salman Butt. 


The tolerating of acts like these that shame the reputation of the game can never be tolerated, and duly they all got afforded due punishment, but away from these individuals the vitriol directed at Pakistan bordered on hysterical. Lead by England great Ian Botham calling for Pakistan to be banned from the game because of its 'cancerous problem' as epitomised in this affair.


Which more than anything showed his bias against Pakistan and the underlying subtle victimisation that goes with it. For greed is inherent in all, but it seems that all assume that corruption is just confined to one Nation in the game.


All these afore mentioned factors going against them would have buried lesser beings but the response from Pakistan has been nothing short of inspirational in all regards.
The culmination was seen in the over pouring of emotions in the wake of the remarkably 2nd Test victory yesterday against World number 1 England that saw the Team take an unassailable 2 nil lead in the 3 Test series. Though the seeds for this glory were sown as the Team lay in ashes post England 2010 with a very definite shift away from the flashy paper tiger individuals to men of real steel and constitution. It was if the powers that be lent the ethos of the Three Little Pigs fairytale in the laying of their foundations with them no longing being content with 'houses' of hay or sticks that are so easy to be blown down. Instead insisting on solid bricks.


Embodied in their choice of leader in the burgeoning Statesman of the game in Misbah ul Haq, who most likely would not be recognised if he walked down a crowded street, but my Golly Gee has his influence been felt. He has transplanted his immensely patriotic, steely and resilient demeanour to be the ethos of the Team with all embracing it.


You have seen this in the Teams direction in terms of selections with the precociously talented Umar Akmal being put into the back ground despite many calling for his inclusion.


"There is no doubt over his (Akmal's) potential or talent. But he has not done enough to remain in the team, stated Mohsin Khan


"Basically we have given him a message. 'Go and play domestic cricket and learn to play big innings'. Learn to turn your thirties and forties into hundreds for the team. Stop being selfish.'"


Akmal's redoubtable Lollywood box office appeal has been overlooked for more dour types such as Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq. That after viewing the immense effect that these two had in the recent win where they came together at 54/4 to share in a game defining partnership of 88 you cannot help but applaud. Their application in batting to set up the Teams triumph was described with both showing composure, discipline and the precious ability to withstand pressure that again embodied the Teams unshakable resolve on the way to a remarkable win.

That was against an English Team that have no tasted defeat in a series since 2009 making you try to vision the future potential of Team Misbah. The ultimate goal would be to achieve a completeness of performance in all conditions with the realisation that these triumphs have been very noteworthy. But greatly assisted by the Teams greatest strength in spin being supported by the pitches.

In looking at this, the logical step is to dissect the strengths and weaknesses in the playing personnel, but in truth the greater key is in ensuring the current culture in the Team. For Pakistan has always been revered as being one of Cricket most sincere talent factories with it always being under done by the chaos behind the scenes.

Crucial in this will the continued good work of  Zaka Ashraf as PCB Chairman, who has been a revelation in the role with one of his up coming decisions that will define the Teams future being the retention of Mohsin Khan as Coach. So as to keep the Teams calm and maintain its admirable focus. It was touted that he would stand down with the talk that the PCB was going to insert Dav Whatmore in the role, but thankfully he has reconsidered his stance as seen in this quote

 "My services are always there for my country but I don't want anybody to take me for granted.

Hopefully the current PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf gives very real consideration to having his 'Interim Coach' tag be replaced with the Full time position.


All in all we must stand and applaud in Pakistans rise, and feel so compelled to smile in some much needed joy for the wonderful Pakistan people.


Let me say 'Pakistan Zindabad' in my strong Irish accent in appreciation!

30 comments:

  1. as always tim,u your articles have an air of frankness and being unofficial which makes them interesting and speaking about pakistan,they yet again showed that you need bowlers who can take 20 wickets,no matter how small the score you are defending
    indeed a moment to savour for the nation which has been in great turmoil!
    -Mohd Samran.

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    1. Thank you for your kind word Mohammed

      It so lovely seeing the team give some joy in times of great hardship for Pakistan. And as you state in your comment-the strength in their bowling means they would be a match for anyone and on any surface

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  2. This is what we say.. hardworks and efforts always appreciated, wonerful piture of my beloved pakistan in this article !! :)

    Regards: Aqsa

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Aqsa, and let us hope for the team to rise to the very top

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  3. Great article. I am a pakistani and i can't thank you enough for this piece of art. Good to know that some people out there still believe that we Pakistanis, as a nation, are nice and peaceloving people. It is because of a handfull of people that international media is portraying us as terrorists. You sir, are my hero.

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    1. Thank you my friend.

      And no need for thanks. Instead the Western World should afford all of the Pakistani people an apology for how badly your Nation has been treated. You are all the heroes for you always hold your dignity despite the many blows you have to take

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    2. The world would be a much much better place if we all start thinking like you sir. Will be following your blog from now on. Keep up the wonderfull work. All my good wishes for you :-).

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    3. To you too, and may Allah bless you, your family and great Nation with Peace and Prosperity

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  4. Another masterpiece from the statesman Tim Holt... I am still not convinced with Mohsin Khan's credentials as coach. Would you like to press his case in your words then I may reconsider my stand as I still feel Pakistan needs a foreign coach who can guide them in tougher and alien conditions professionally and fine-tune their game as well.

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    1. If u look into tge history Pakistan has never been benefitted by a foreign coach. Its always under local coaches that our team has performed. 1992, 1999,2011. And I do think mohsin khan knows a fair amount about foreign conditions. A double century at Lords against england is enough to prove that. Cheers.

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    2. The main premise my dear friend is that why would yoyu risk the harmony in the Team under Misbah/ Mohsin by bringing in a new voice.

      For with harmony- Pakistan has a chance to rule the game with how much talent you have

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    3. A for Tariq's point I though under Whatmore we were good ... and yes hormony is must but the credit goes to Misbah and Waqar rather than Mohsin. My worry is when Mohsin knows he has been appointed as a long term coach say for 2 years then we might know his true pros and cons. I hope for the best.

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    4. Exactly. Its always better to carry on with a winning combination. Misbah and Mohsin seem to enjoy working togather as captain and coach. It was under a foreign coach, Late Bob woolmer, that pakistan made a first round exit from the worldcup. Although i am not questioning Bob's abilities and for me he will always remain one of the greatest coach cricketing world has ever seen, but i just want to mention that foreign coaches are not a guarentee of success.

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  5. welcome tim
    even though i am an indian,it's refreshing to see sum1 bulldozing the poms who just razed us recently and specially after the recent australian debacle.
    -Mohammed Samran.

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    1. Yes its was great seeing an Asian Team hitting back hard my friend. And lets hope India rises again soon

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  6. gr8 piece of article from you Sir nd u'll never have d idea that how proud i m feeling after reading this..so GRACIOUS of u sir..thnks alot for portraying a REAL PAKISTAN in ur kind words..may ALLAH bless u always...:)
    Best regards: Qandeel..

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    1. Thank you Qandeel, i was blessed by my parents being in Kashmir prior to 1947, and grew up having them tell me of the supreme beauty of your fine Nation. It has been disgraceful how the outside World has mistreated you as a Nation and peoples.

      Let us hope the rise of your cricket Team coincides with the rise of your Nation

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  7. Wow. This was really heartfelt Tim. Really touched as a Pakistani follower of a game that is our first and last love. This was indeed the most special moment in Pakistan cricket for years. The psychological relief it's managed to induce in a deeply scarred society is almost physically palpable. Here's hoping such moments of brilliance form the crux of Pakistan's contribution to the great game of cricket in the years ahead.
    The sincerity of your empathy is astounding though. Thanks for writing this. :)

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    1. It is not hard to be heartfelt Ammar when you understand that the truth of Pakistan is it has been so mistreated by the outside World. Let us hope that your Nation gets blessed with the peace and Prosperity it so deserves

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  8. Oh my gosh! Thank you soooooo much for such a Pakistan friendly blog! We don't get to see much of such words nowadays in the western media. Such a relief to see your words! On behalf of all Pakistanis, Thank You once again! Wish there were more people like you in this world!

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    1. Sadly Sara, your Nation and fellow Pakistani brothers and sisters have been so mistreated by the outside World. You saw that in the lack of help afforded after the terrible flood, and even now when parts of the Nation are still trying to recover from its effects.

      And there is no need for thanks instead it is us who should offer apology to Pakistan for how badly it has been both victimised and neglected

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  9. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! :))) What a lovely article! Really, really touched! Don't think I've EVER seen anything like this said about us in the recent days/months/years! Really, really appreciate it! Wish people like you were on BBC,CNN,Fox etc... A BIG Thank You once again from Pakistan! :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Maria, and there is no need for thanks for it is high time that all the people of the World started to look after each other

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  10. What an absolutely splended piece of writing. Many thanks Tim! Best wishes from an England and Pakistan cricket fan.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Jali, and lets hope Pakistan rises like a Phoenix

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  11. Tim Holt ... where r yuh ??? lemme tell u i m not a gay even by a decimal but i still want to kiss your cheek. U just can't imagine the feeling of reading some praises for Pakistan from a westerner wen we come to media only under the headlines of terrorism. just can't thank yuh enough.
    if all of us consider, here this article gives us an awesome yet so simple solution for world peace. Tolerance and acceptance of mistakes.
    And to be honest, that whole spot fixing fiasco was also a "setup". but we already had a discussion on this on that amir related article.
    and hey tim, i belong to Kashmir, born n bred,
    once again thanks, seems like i just had a whole crate of "red bulls" :-P

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  12. An extremely good article - I also feel that there is an unnecessary prejudice against Pakistan. I live in a country, a neighbour of the country the article is associated with (although I live in a place much closer to Sri Lanka) and I'm tired of reading negative articles on Pakistan - the people in general see me as a traitor when I say anything in support of Pakistan. One must not have any hatred towards a particular country just because of the activities of a handful of people. What I really liked about this article was how non-cricket issues were touched upon through this sport.

    Coming to cricket, regarding Mohsin Khan, I feel the PCB should not appoint a permanent coach now, but, at the same time, Mohsin Khan must continue being the interim coach and he could be made permanent when he guides team Misbah to a significant away series victory. I felt that this person could be a great coach when he said before the first test, "At this stage, I can't teach them cricket - I must just guide them in the right direction and help them secure the desired results". True to his words, so far, that is what he has exactly done with Team Misbah. I hope this good form of Pakistan continues and despite being an England supporter, I enjoyed watching Pakistan play in these two matches.

    Have a nice day,
    Andy

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    1. Andy, as a Pakistani I just want to say thank you so much! Usually people like and believe all the negative things they read about Pakistan...yes, it is only thanks to a handful of people that spoil our country's image, otherwise the majority of us just want to live a happy, peaceful life just like anybody else. We love watching movies and going to the beach etc, but this side of us is never shown in the media....sigh..I wish one day our songs, tv shows would get the same publicity, as the other side of our country does... Anyway, here are two videos just to show you what the media never would... Thanks again! :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCF3kWoYjTA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFBQEjghDOw

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