Wednesday July 06, 2022

7 predictions for 2020: What will happen in sports this year

Lahore Qalandars' PSL 2020 fate, cricket team's World T20 and the non-cricketer's pain dominate our predictions

January 06, 2020

The world of Pakistani sports was traditionally unpredictable however, in recent years, much has changed as  national athletes are losing some of their ability to spring surprises when least expected.

With that in mind, here's a shot at prophesying what our beloved athletes will do, what will be done to them and what will happen around them — in year 2020:

1- Bangladesh to demand Fantastic Four-level of security in Pakistan

Photo credit: Fantastic Four

Severely dissatisfied and disappointed with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Cricket Board, the skittish folks at the Bangladesh Cricket Board will come up with a new set of demands.

“We will only feel safe on Pakistani territory if we are protected by the entire Fantastic Four line-up," the BCB chief executive will say.

"The Thing has to be the chief security officer,” he will add.

Despite the demands being reluctantly accepted, the BCB CEO will still insist that the Test series be staged on neutral soil.

2- Pakistan Women's gritty T20 World Cup win to go unnoticed

Photo: File

Despite repeated pleas by legendary all-rounder Shahid Afridi to skip the World Cup and attend culinary classes instead, the Pakistan Women’s team will decide to take part in the tournament.

Against the odds, the team will go all the way and beat Australia in a thrilling final.

Their win, however, will largely go unnoticed as Pakistan’s men’s team will be playing Zimbabwe in Harare the same day.

3- Lahore Qalandars to finish last in PSL 2020

Photo: File

We’re not doing this just to push a trite joke. Unlike other entries on the list, this might actually even come true.

Believe it or not, there is actual evidence that suggests the Qalandars will once again be stuck to the bottom of the barrel come May 22.

They have an out-of-sorts Fakhar Zaman and a near quadragenarian Mohammad Hafeez, helped by the likes of Samit Patel, Salman Butt and a bunch of locals.

Read more: Pak vs Aus: Ex-cricketers who failed in Australia slam current cricketers who failed in Australia

They are led by a 33-year-old who has never played cricket at the highest level of the game.

Their entire game depends on Chris Lynn and a battery of fast bowlers — namely, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf.

Hello darkness my old friend…

4- Andrea Pirlo to visit Pakistan to ‘boost’ local game 

Photo: File

Some time this year, maybe late summer or early winter, someone with deeps pockets or deep connections will convince Andrea Pirlo to visit Pakistan and play a friendly futsal match.

Pirlo, retired and looking for avenues to make a quick buck, will hop on. Some other legends of the game, who know nothing of Pakistan and Pakistan knows nothing of them, will also tag along.

At the press conference, TV reporters clutching phones still displaying Pirlo's Wikipedia profile will ask Pirlo if he has tried Pakistani biryani and what his views of Imran Khan and cricket are.

A total of 41 people will show up for the match on the water-logged pitch of an abandoned cricket stadium. The players and security officials will account for half of the 'crowd'.

In the end, promises to nurture the Beautiful Game will be made. All will be good till the two factions of the Pakistan Football Federation start cussing each other out in front of everyone again.

5- Olympic champion Inam Butt to be given ‘memorable’ welcome

Photo: File

Wrestler Inam Butt will defy the tallest of odds and win Pakistan’s only Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020.

Upon his triumphant return at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, he will be received by his family members and two reporters — one from City420 and another who lost his job in 2017 but is still reporting out of habit.

Inam’s win will be reported on by a primetime talkshow host struggling for content on a slow Saturday.

His heroics will catch the eye of Twitter's 'woke' crowd, #RecognitionForInam will trend, after which the government will promise a whopping Rs1,000.00 grant.

The cheque, however, will bounce.

Inam will put up his medal for sale on OLX later in the year.

6- Misbah to use wrong World T20 for inspiration

Photo: File

Overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities to serve as the national team’s physio, cook and driver, Misbah-ul-Haq will confuse PCB CEO Wasim Khan’s instructions and end up following the blueprint of the 2014 World T20 instead of the 2009 one.

Only before the final match of the group stage will he realise the error. By which time, it will be too late. Sadly, there will be no 'similarities' with the 2009 campaign.

Pakistan will post a 101-run target against New Zealand in what will be their final match of the tournament. Of the total, 100 will be scored by captain Babar Azam.

Pakistan will win the match but go home.

Misbah will retain all his jobs as the pain of defeat will be overshadowed by the find of the tournament: an 11-year-old fast bowler who is as baby-faced as he is burly and has shed years on his birth certificate every year.

7- Fawad Alam to (almost) break his Test drought 

Photo: File

We're in December for the last Test match of the year.

Enter Fawad Alam, who has been diligently carrying water bottles for the team for the last 12 months.

At the last minute, someone with a career average of 23 picks up an injury.

With no one else to cover and Misbah feeling particularly generous, Fawad is named in the starting XI.

The now 35-year-old Fawad puts on a brand new kit — L guard protected with plastic — and walks out to the batting crease, windmilling the willow to free up those rotator cuffs.

With destiny just a few yards away, the heavens open up.

Fawad "the unfortunate" is denied another chance to break his decade-long Test drought.

"I will work hard and try again next year," he says in the post-match press conference sitting alongside Misbah, who gives him his best 'we-shall-see' side-eye.

DISCLAIMER: This piece is a work of satire and any eventual precision in its predictions would be purely coincidental.