With a broken heart

By Muhammad Nabeel
Fri, 06, 24

The enigma that team Pakistan is, you can either love them or hate them. There’s no middle ground. It is a mad love affair and when it’s not going well it breaks your heart....

With a broken heart


(Penned after Pakistan’s ignominious defeat against India)

The enigma that team Pakistan is, you can either love them or hate them. There’s no middle ground. It is a mad love affair and when it’s not going well it breaks your heart.

Pakistan lost to the US on Thursday, 6 June, and then to India on Sunday, 9 June. The loss to the United States was unacceptable and it is one for the ages, but if there’s any team in the world that can turn its luck upside down in a blink; it is Pakistan. Yes, no one even comes close in any major sport. They almost did that against India, well almost.

Pakistan Cricket Team has a shameful record against India in the World Cups; they have only won one game in 32 years against their arch-rivals. The match on 9 June presented a glorious opportunity to improve that shabby record. Bowlers did the work like they normally do, but this Pakistan side fell six runs short and their target was a paltry 120. Who would have thought that the mighty Indian batting line-up would curl and fold under immense pressure of the fearsome Pakistan bowling unit? They were bundled out for 119, and couldn’t play the full 20 overs. Of course the conditions favoured the bowlers but they didn’t disappoint; India, at one stage, were going strong with 90 for three, but then Amir, Naseem and Co. tightened the screws and suffocated the batsmen and India finished 15 to 20 runs short of what would have been a tough target for any batting line-up.

With a broken heart

This was chaseable. Pakistan fans started believing once again that maybe this time it would be different, that maybe today is our day. But no, they came up short, again. Young Naseem Shah who played the last ball of the match was seen crying on his way back to the dugout, with Shaheen consoling him. Players are humans too; they also have feelings, and no matter what you say, it must hurt them perhaps more than it hurts the fans. It is not easy; they carry the hopes of millions and cricket is a game where both sides come to win. Nobody likes losing.

Fans have a right to be furious when episodes like the ones we witnessed in the two matches occur. But, they will be behind their team in the next match with the same passion. There’s no choice, as the relationship between Pakistanis and their cricket team is that of parents and their disobedient child, because no matter what, parents love their children and stand by them.

Pakistan Cricket Team is just so unimaginably unpredictable that even after the loss to the US there was a hope among fans that a turnaround against India would revive their campaign. This isn’t new; they consistently find themselves in situations where their chances of progressing hinge on circumstances like the sun rising from the west or elephants taking flight!

With a broken heart

Here we are again. They have lost the two games and the writing is on the wall, and it is pretty much the end of the World Cup for Babar Azam and his team. In this age of social media, it is not even that easy to hide yourself from the outside world. They will face the public wrath; in fact, some of the team members are already under immense scrutiny. Players like Azam Khan must be feeling the heat; the way he has been trolled over social media in the past seven to 10 days is shameful. It is a total disregard of the mental health of a fellow human. We need to understand that such trolling can have irreparable impact on a person’s mental well-being; and there has to be a limit to this.

Pakistan Team should also understand that Cricket is the only sport of any significance left in Pakistan and this is perhaps the only thing that unites the nation, so when you don the revered green, you play your heart out. The fans on the other hand should also realise that there are many factors that impact a team’s performance on the field and that no matter how invested emotionally we are in cricket it is a game, after all.