On the side - Confessional

Satire: Diary of a Pakistani cricketer

Updated Apr 16, 2017 08:05pm

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Illustration by Sabir Nazar
Illustration by Sabir Nazar

I am in a bit of a spot and I don’t know how to fix it.

All you guys want us to do is win, win, win. How is that even remotely possible? I can ask some knowledgeable bookies to explain probabilities to you.

So sure, yes, we went down under in down under. Just won one measly match in the Test series and the ODIs. But we didn’t let it affect our morale because they are a nation of criminals. Especially Ian Chappell.

The sky seemed to fall when Bangladesh went a notch higher than us in the rankings. But I don’t see anyone agonising over Bangladesh beating us in the global human development index. Why is it so that only cricketers are supposed to perform?

And we are absolutely tired of you asking us to be more like Misbah. Ask us to be an Afridi. Now that’s cricket. Refusing to retire, going out swinging the bat no matter what the match requires, and doing shampoo commercials. Lots of shampoo commercials.

The only way to hold your head up high for the nation as a cricketer is without dandruff. The media has got the whole PSL betting scandal wrong. We have been demoralised, because the real scandal is getting only 4-5 lakhs to throw a match. “We have become the Suzuki Mehrans of the betting world.”

We are kinda happy we don’t have to play India anymore. If we lose again, people will just say we have put Radd-ul-Fasaad in jeopardy. Why does everyone worry about everyone else’s morale but ours? Plus we like our travel/daily allowance now that international cricket can only be played internationally.

Cricket is not the same as it once was. It’s been 10 years since a Miss India has been interested in a Pakistani cricketer. In the old days all we had to do was drink soda, now it’s the whole song and dance routine as well. We played cricket a couple times a year instead of the nine-to-five on the pitch we have to pull through now.

You hanker for the glory days of Imran, Miandad, Fazal Mahmood and others? So do we. Those were the days when the sport was the home of gentlemen, where the spirit of the game was paramount, every match an exercise in furthering Pakistan’s image abroad. When other sports were alive and well — hockey and squash competing for the affections of the Pakistani viewer. They were the good times.

Even Ian Chappell hadn’t started commentary then. Those days were that good.

But you know what else isn’t as good as the old days? The fans. Yeah, those fans didn’t burn effigies, surround houses, organise angry mobs to receive players at the airport, spew constant filth online and behave poorly at matches.

And you know what else isn’t as good as the old days? The TV journalists. Yeah, those journalists didn’t encourage fans to burn effigies, surround houses, give out details about our arrival times at the airport, spew constant filth against us in TV shows and interview us with contempt at matches.

Look, we are just your average kids from Pakistan. Cricket is not some profession to us that we chose. We give up everything to try and make it; more often than not it’s cricket that will give up on us. Just one in a thousand will get the chance to make it worthwhile.

And that’s enough for us; we are young, don’t get along well to play like a team, make self-sabotaging mistakes. Yet, we are wildly talented and full of promise. We are Pakistan, to the core. Loveable, frustrating, yet one with the nation, even if we don’t like each other sometimes. And when the times are tough, we unite against an enemy.

Especially if it’s Ian Chappell.

Yours defensively,

All-rounder


This article was originally published in the Herald's March 2017 issue. To read more subscribe to the Herald in print.