The English proverb, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’, rings true in the case of the Pakistan cricket team’s outstanding performance that led to the country winning the ICC Champions trophy at the Oval.
The magnificent victory in the holy month of Ramazan has, no doubt, brought jubilation for the whole nation after a long time. The team’s captain Sarfraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur dedicated this memorable triumph against India to the Pakistani nation. This victory shows that despite facing various challenges, Pakistan remains a dynamic country and its people have the dynamic potential to achieve their goals – whether in sports or any other sphere of life.
Before the start of the cricket tournament, there was not even a single prediction for Pakistan’s success. According to experts, Pakistan’s team had the lowest ranking. It had failed to deliver an impressive performance in terms of batting, bowling and fielding over the last few years. Our legendary players appeared to be more active on TV commercials instead of the cricket pitch. As far as team management was concerned, the captain changed occasionally and the introduction of a new opening pair in every match became routine.
While criticism was levelled at the team for dropping specific players, captain-coach conflicts and issues involving the PCB continued to grab headlines. International cricket was almost dead in Pakistan following the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009. The international media – under the influence of Indian lobbies – as well as the Pakistani media, started presenting the negative aspects of our cricket team. Cricket fans in the country were disappointed with Pakistan’s defeat at the hands of India in the start of the ICC Champions trophy.
But now, the entire world of cricket is admiring Pakistan’s cricket team as the ‘Champion of Champions’ after its magnificent victory at the Oval under the leadership of Captain Sarfraz. The victory serves as a lesson for all those who firmly believe in struggling for success by prioritising hard work and turning a deaf ear to criticism.
Cricket is also known as the gentleman’s game. Players are required to demonstrate their skills with honesty. Britain introduced cricket to emphasise the golden rules of sportsmanship – such as tolerance, equality and moral values – among its colonies. The first international cricket match was between Britain and the then-colonial United States around 200 years ago.
The famous English saying, ‘it’s not cricket’, is used to criticise foul play, dishonesty and malpractices in daily life. The crucial role of the umpire cannot be denied because the game revolves around his indicators and the respect shown towards his decisions. Once a batsman is declared ‘out’, he has no other option but to leave the ground for the next player. Nobody is allowed to oppose the umpire’s decision for the sake of discipline. Almost all Commonwealth countries play cricket. But it has gained huge popularity in Pakistan and India owing the traditional rivalry between the countries.
Cricket also plays a vital role in promoting patriotism among Pakistanis, especially when the match is played against India. The people of Pakistan remain united by pushing aside all their ethnic and cultural differences. Special prayers are offered for the success of the Pakistani team in mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship. The #PakistanZindabad hashtag remains the top trend on Twitter on the day of the match and social media users within Pakistan and abroad are seen expressing their good wishes for the cricket team.
Like other sectors, commercialisation and glamour have also affected the noble game of cricket. Match-fixing allegations have increased by the day. The use of foul language by senior actors for the sake of cheap publicity is also condemnable. People should understand that victory and defeat are part of the game. As a result, presenting cricket matches as war-like situations between two countries is not healthy for any civilised society.
The team’s victory is likely to have an impact on our future. It serves as a new ray of hope for Pakistan – a country that is emerging from various challenges. The joyful celebrations among the youth along with prize announcements for the team from the political and military leadership have raise the morale of the nation. Against the backdrop of the current Pakistan-India tussle, this victory has dispelled the impression that Pakistan is unable to defeat India in any international tournament. Our historical victory has been lauded all over the world and the international community can now view Pakistan as an emerging player on the international arena. This memorable triumph offers countless benefits on the diplomatic front. It provides a golden opportunity for us to move forward towards normalising bilateral relations between Pakistan and India. Let’s hope that Pakistan’s cricket stadiums will once again welcome the international teams in the near future.
The writer is a member of the National
Assembly and patron-in-chief of the
Pakistan Hindu Council.
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