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