FOR GOD AND COUNTRY

Pakistani cricketers praying 

As expected, we have entered into another phase of instability, destined to dampen the mood of the Pakistan cricket environment yet again. All those looking forward to a fresh start with a new/young captain and the policy of ‘out with the mullah, in with the moderate’ (and merit!) are likely to be disappointed. It so happens that cricketing affairs in

Pakistan are as unsteady and incoherent as the country’s politics [a possible correlation but perhaps for another time]Geoff Lawson landed in Pakistan yesterday evening to the news that some of the major players [mainly Mohammad Yousuf] have signed on with the Indian Cricket League, his words were heartening but nonetheless not without uncertainty. He mentioned that he is here, and will meet the team for training, who ever turns up. What others do is not his business and he is there for Team Pakistan. Henry sounds more patriotic then our super stars, which was also the theme that late Bob Woolmer took, extremely passionate about Pakistan cricket which eventually led to his demise. Seems like non of the players have learnt a thing.

News spreads that the bearded duo of Inzi and MoYo [Muhammad Yousuf] and disgruntled pair of Razzaq and Farhat have opted to join some India League. What baffles me is that fact that players like Razzaq and Imran Farhat think that playing cricket for Pakistan is their birth rite. Imran Farhat is a cricketer of extremely limited potential, yet his demands make one think he plays with an average of 50 plus in test cricket, and scores runs in his sleep. Lucky to have a central contract but not content enough to only play when selected, he fails to understand the concept of selection being performance based. An Average of 33.10 in 52 innings [Avg 30.4 in ODIS] speaks for itself, let alone the fact that his game has not improved one bit. Since his debut six years ago his method of dismissals are repetitive and his attitude towards the game has worsened. Obviously, “hard work” and “proving ones ability” escapes his vocabulary amongst others like common sense and pride.

Similarly Abdul Razzaq, has not been able to perform to his capacity for quite sometime now, his bowling has been pedestrian and his batting has lost that clear your left leg and sweetly smash the ball approach. He needs to admit the fact that he is not playing good cricket, and this is something that happens to every sports star. However, being left out of the 20/20 world cup should’ve been taken as a catalyst to improve his game and having rested to come back stronger both mentally and physically. Instead he chose to portray himself as a shoe-in for the team and claimed that he is better then he is being treated.

Inzi, at the fag end of his career, is probably the least guilty and can be forgiven for looking out for his personal interests especially after the way PCB has treated him. This leaves us with the dilemma that is MoYo. His jump ship action smells of hypocrisy and the (more powerful than you think) Inzi influence. Non-selection from a 20/20 World Cup was a bad call, I admit. However he should realise that he is presently the country’s top batsmen and an important senior player. His omission did not imply that he will not play cricket again. Hence it is hard to digest that his “love” for 20/20 was so great that he would discard his test and ODI career so easily. I feel that representing your country is the biggest honour. Apparently, MoYo’s religious beliefs and conviction to play for Pakistan were never enough to sway him from a different kind of moolah. Big dollars are still revered amongst the holy and MoYo is only human after all. Keeping a fist long beard and wearing your pants above the ankle may show your outer Muslim but is not enough to prove the inner Muslim in you.

So what is the deeper reason behind all this? my view is the lack of humble approach from our cricketers [another parallel with our political leaders]. On comparison if we look at the champion Australian Cricket team, they are extremely arrogant on the pitch but very humble towards the game they play. “Respect the game” is what Steve Waugh used to say and it’ll respect you. He also emphasised the fact that no individual is bigger then the game, never think that you are above the sport. Australian cricket history is littered with examples where top Aussie cricketers have been dropped for being out of form or being rested, none of them have cursed the game or the country. Instead they quietly went about to prove themselves by putting in performances of note and then taking their chance when they were selected. Classic example is Michael Clark who had a sterling start then a massive lull, before pushing himself back into the team. Farhat/Razzaq take note.

Since this news is fairly new, I don’t want to be too critical on these players. However it is a shame that we have players that consider themselves above the game that gave them so much, and above the country they represent. How would the blood pump, how would they raise adrenalin, how would they fight to the wire if there is no National pride at stake. What meaning would a packed Stadium in India mean if the encounter is not with the traditional rival but a bunch of has beens and wannabes’ but then again I guess that is not important, and that’s hard to believe. Remember boys, playing for your country is a privilege, not a right.

Ali Khan – Works in the finance industry in Sydney and has been a student of Cricket since his early days. He has played grade cricket and is now and an avid follower of the game, amongst other sports. Ali has written articles for Pakistani news papers and also for Sports based websites. Ali often undertakes junior coaching and sports motivation speaking for the younger audience. Ali can be reached on alikhan_00@hotmail.com

Related

Playing Halal cricket in Paksitan

This entry was posted in Sport. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to FOR GOD AND COUNTRY

  1. Sharif says:

    I think its difficult to compare the mentality of Australian cricketers to the mentatility of Pakistani cricketers. I know that pakistani cricketers dont get paid nearly as much as Aussie cricketers. Its reported today that Inzy etc will get around AU$70K a year from the rebel Indian League. If thats the money they are getting then imagnine what the Pak board pays them. I know for a fact that the bulk of Australian cricketers have been on $100K plus for atleast the last ten years.

    So although money is not the only factor its definitely one of them.

  2. Siraj says:

    The fact that MoYo has defected shows that not all is well behind the scenes. It is easy for people to say that playing for your country is a privilege etc. Perhaps the board uses the exact same view to exploit your players. If they are not treating certain players with respect than it cannot be shocking that a player will not have respect for playing the game when walking out on the field. If I’m working for the Government and have a $*!@* boss, I wouldnt stay just because i love my country. DO NOT think that Australian players have a different attitude because of their love of their country and the game. They have a players union who stands up for them and demands they get compensated for their work. I do not think Pakistani cricketers have that support. If Pontings next contract asked him to take a pay cut he would be on the next plane out of here (luckily for him the union won’t allow it).

  3. Amna says:

    Its an unfortunate and sad reality that our cricket team dosen’t seem to have the spirit or zeal that is the secret ingredient to winning any game……. But perhaps they haven’t had the right motivators……maybe they don’t deserve a ‘Woolmer’ or a ‘Lawson’ and maybe another ‘Khan’ could do the trick. Its all in the mind, our team needs someone who understands their ‘mentality’ and uses this understanding in exploiting their potentials. All the best to Lawson but I think the pakistani cricket team needs another home-grown tiger.

  4. Cheems says:

    Losing MoYo is a big blow and leaves a gaping hole in the pakistani battling line up, and is a surprise especially he earned about 3.5 million rupees just last year after breaking Viv Richard’s record of most test runs in a calendar year. Imran Farhat could’ve been a good player but as Ali rightly pointed out in his article that you can’t get anywhere without hard work. Razzaq has been a humble servant of pakistan cricket for a long time and even though his form over the past 18 months has considerably dropped, but leaving out a seasoned veteran from the 20/20 squad is pure stupidity.
    All in all, PCB rather than banning these players for life should look at their pay structures and share the millions of dollars they get because of these players. Maybe then joing ICL would not be an option at all. First class cricketers in Australia probably earn more than our national side members. On an ending note, Inzi (mullah or not) is a living legend for the Pakistani cricket, arguably the best batsmen of our time and it is sad to see that yet again PCB has managed to end another glittering career in this manner. It is a disgrace to see our cricket heros being shown the door again and again with a kick up their back side.

  5. MiRaza says:

    Ali, good article from an avid fan. Its as punchy, to the point and thought provoking as your motivation talk was to my nephew’s under 13’s last week – you surely have them pumped for the coming season!
    I agree that MoYo’s decision is shocking, Razzak’s logic of retiring is surprising, Farhat probably got lured by the money and as for Big Inzi…as Cheems said, the legend deserves a dignified retirement and not a back door exit from the scene.
    But lets look at this from a practical view-point, keeping in mind that we are talking about professional cricketers and the fact that neither PCB nor any other cricket board (except BCCI) has not made a clear statement yet explaining why anyone playing the ICL will be banned for life. With that background, so far the ICL is a string of 20/20 tournaments played over a period of time where some of the greats of the game will be playing and getting paid mega bucks for doing so. Like county cricket in the UK, as long as the players can be released to play for their countries when on national duty (which some reports suggest is the case with ICL contracts) then whats all the fuss about? I know Razzak has gone the extra mile and announced his retirement, but apart from that foolishness lets contain our criticism and judgement calls till such time that we all know who picked moolah over national pride.

  6. Sharif says:

    God before all countries.

  7. JD says:

    Not a bad read that. Some of the eulogizing about Australia, though, makes me a bit ill. We do well because of our “environmental” circumstances and because Sport seems to underpin whatever culture exists in Australia these days. Hence money, respect etc flow to people who devote their lives to sport. I actually think it is no longer a sport in Australia, except at some grass root levels, and that it won’t be long before the “grass roots” exist in name only.

  8. Siraj says:

    Cheems is on the right track. I’m not a Pakistani but its quite clear what the problem is. Your cricket team doesnt have spirit because of the PCB. Stop blaming your players and coach, it hasn’t worked in the past and won’t work in the future. Start supporting your players including those that have defected. You guys are going to be the next Zimbabwe (your already 3/4 there) if the public and media dont start supporting the players and not fall into the hype that PCB have been pushing you guys for so long.

  9. Chinky says:

    An interesting read, the article shouts out loud the frustration of an average Pakistani cricket fan. However, I think its unfair to simply ‘label’ the players and their decisions as being either right or wrong. We need to respect these players as individuals. The professionalism (of non-Pakistani players) being cited in the comments and the article itself stems from the sport being treated as a profession in these countries. Discipline and consistency in policies (and selection) are precursors to professionalism and sadly we lack both right now.
    And none of the players is either ‘cursing the country or the game’ The players simply feel frustrated with the uncertainty, they do love the game and want to continue playing, hence the decision to continue with ICL.
    On one hand we had miandad playing his 6th world cup long after he lost his ability to crawl for a single and of course the reversal of the recent doping decisions. And on the other we have Yousaf being axed after a phenomenal season, that too not for infusing young blood into the team but for reintroducing Misbah-ul-Haq (over 33 y/o with only 12 matches under his belt @ 33 runs/inning).
    It truly is sad that our cricketing history can boast nothing more that a bunch of fallen heroes.
    Its time we realize that consistently delivering is not only the job of the players and the coach but also of the board and management.

  10. Arden says:

    Ali,

    You cant really blame MOYO for what he did.

    The PCB needs to take a good hard look at themselves.

    What on earth were they thinkin about dropping MOYO??Its really a nobrainer.Their p1$$poor reasons of wanting him fresh and wanting to give youngun’s a go didnt make any sense!!

    Is this how you treat your star player??I dont blame yousuf for deflecting. Good on him i say. We all know hes a millionaire but i think its not all about the money. I think its simple case of him being angry at how the PCB has treated him.

    Maybe for MOYO, personal pride is more important than national pride.

    I also think theres a lot of behind the scene issues which have affected his decision.

    PCB have no else to blame but themselves if MOYO doesn’t play Test Cricket again.

    But once again, this is the wonderful world of Paki cricket where nothing ever makes sense.

  11. Faisal says:

    You have to blame MoYo. He was nothing before Pakistan cricket, and would have lived a pretty sad and depressed life if he hadn’t been selected to play for Pakistan. The fact that he signed up to a rival league instead of just resigning asserts that (not only protest but) greed may have been his primary motivation.

    Australian Andrew Symonds was once offered to play for England, which he rejected purely because he had learned the game in Aus and owed it to the country to contribute to the game locally. That’s what MoYo should have done, he would have been out on the ground representing Pak eventually.

  12. Liaquat says:

    I love it the way you guys put Australians up on some moral and ethical pedistal. Cricket and sport in general allows it’s elite to earn only for a period of time, not indefinitely so as a player one has to sometimes make more buisness or livelihood related decisions. Remember Kerry Packer formed a rebel league and amongst those players were players at or reaching their peak like Imran Khan, Asif Iqbal, Zaheer Abbas etc…They weren’t traitors then or now.

    Kerry Packer and the players that took part in World Series Cricket are responsible for what one day cricket is today. They injected energy into the game and in turn attracted people to it.

    Andrew Symonds…pffft…like we can learn morals and ethics from him.

  13. Sumz says:

    I agree with some of ure points…primarily the one where u point out that imran farhat is crap beyond belief…

    Although, its hard to compare our cricketers with the aussies, they get paid a hell of a lot more…

    Coming from a country where people are always willing to leave for a better opportunity overseas i think its a bit harsh to criticize those that are leaving to play cricket next door, as you said they are ‘human after all’.

    National pride is pretty low all over Pakistan so its no surprise that our cricketers lack it…

    At the end of the day most people go after opportunity; for them its a career and they will go wherever a good pay raise takes them…Considering they are most likely going to live their old age in a country with no pension, no medicare and a high crime rate i dont feel i can judge their situation.

  14. Arden says:

    Faisal mate!What about the root of the problem…the PCB????Dont you apportion any blame towards them???

    I think the first step is to give marching orders to the americanized Dr Ashraf. He has caused so much controversy since he was appointed.

  15. Siraj says:

    Faisal,
    You say “He was nothing before Pakistan cricket” and therefore should be loyal.
    My question to you and everyone: do you still work for the company that gave you your big break?
    Life is about respect. And it has to work both ways.

  16. Arden says:

    Thats it Siraj.
    Respect is earnt not just freely given

  17. Faisal says:

    Liaquat
    Back in those days players didnt’ get paid very much. Yousef on the other hand is on a very good sum of money. This isn’t 1977.

    Arden
    I hear ya, but if we had players leaving because they dont’ like the administration, pakistan would have never had a descent cricket team. PCB has always been a problem, and will always be a problem. If we are to have elite players only when there is good administration then it’s going to be a long wait.

    Siraj
    Cricket at the national level is not just any job. Your are out there representing the hopes and dreams of millions of people. You are representing your country. The fact that it pays so much money is a bonus. MoYo had the respect of pakistanis he represented in the game..people in the millions…how much more respect can a person want.

  18. Liaquat says:

    Faisal

    Its not all the PCB. Nobody represents their country for free.

    If Paki players got paid like Aussies and if there was cricketing structure like Australia’s where upcoming players can be found and are always chomping at the heals of the A list players then you have amost a process of natural selection, almost a system that operates itself.

    Does anyone get paid their worth in Pakistan?

    Also Moyo, as part of the rebel league, will still be a Pakistani and will still have the backing of his country folk. A couple of quickfire 50’s or 100’s and everyone will be back on the bandwagon..

  19. Siraj says:

    Faisal
    “how much more respect can a person want.”
    >> I’m sure just the respect from the PCB would have been enough.

    “but if we had players leaving because they dont’ like the administration, pakistan would have never had a descent cricket team.”
    >>They should have left a long time ago. the PCB doesnt deserve them and the public should blame the PCB for losing the players.
    You say “PCB has always been a problem” so how long are you going to put up with them? why don’t the people throw them out? Are the PCB higher than the game itself? why don’t people ask that question?

  20. Aussie Paceman says:

    Look on the bright side even with such a crap system Pakistan manages to produce world class players. Without criticizing India with its 1000000000+people to chose from they have only one Tendulkar and not a single world class pace bowler since Kapil Dev. Even a good board can’t solve that so all I’m trying to say is there are a whole bunch of factors not just a single one.

Leave a Reply