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 countryâ€™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, â€œhard workâ€ and â€œproving ones abilityâ€ 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 countryâ€™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, MoYoâ€™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 donâ€™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 thatâ€™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 firstname.lastname@example.org