So, Pakistan lost today, again.
This has been the story of Pakistan Cricket Team for the last many months. In fact, looking at calendar, it made me realize that it has been exactly 365 days since the heady heights we achieved on the gloriously sunny day in June 2009, at Lords Cricket Ground, when Shahid Afridi led Pakistan to the T20 World Cup title.
One year later, and things are looking rather pear shaped. Our cricket has been through its darkest times, the worse kind of infighting our team ever had to suffer with, and a board that could easily be labeled as the most incompetent one in the history of Pakistani sport.
Off the field, we have quite literally touched rock bottom and I don’t see what more can we do to top the fiasco that was PCB committee’s in-camera probe, where the players ripped each other apart and it sounded more like a political conspiracy of the Machiavellian order than a disciplinary committee meeting for a national cricket team
However, as the title of this blog-post state, I realized one thing. We Pakistanis are finally, eventually, good at something. This is beside the point that something happens to be the most awful of all.
We, the Pakistani Cricket Team, are good at snatching defeat from jaws of victory. We are good at giving life to the deadest contest, and then falling at the last hurdle. We are good at giving false hope when there shouldn’t be any. We are basically, just good at giving a lot of heart ache to the entire nation.
Again and again.
Consider this. After today’s loss, the first thing that came to my mind was the fact that over the last one year since winning T20 WC, what we have done well, in all three formats of the game, is to choke at the last morsel and die. Consistently.
Here is the proof.
I browsed through the most magnificent Stats Guru on the greatest website on the internet, www.cricinfo.org, and I filtered Pakistan’s records from 20 June 2009 till 20 June 2010.
What I found out was that Pakistan played 9 test matches, 19 ODIs and 13 T20 Internationals. Out of these 41 international matches, we lost 26 matches, a whopping 63% of the total. However, upon closer inspection, the astonishing fact was revealed which confirmed my initial doubt. Out of those 26 defeats, 13 of them [50% of the total] were absolute nail-biting crackers.
Now all of those who know a bit about sports, they can understand how much it matters to win a single close encounter and the kind of effect it has on the psyche of players but Pakistan was resolute enough to do just that. Continuously suffer close defeats.
To revive the memory of those who want to know about the 13 close matches were, here they are. Pray tell, if these were not heart breaking defeats, what is!
- 1st Test Match against Sri Lanka at Galle
- League match against Australia in Champions Trophy
- Semi Final against Kiwis in Champions Trophy
- 3rd ODI against Kiwis in Abu Dhabi
- THAT 1st Test Match against Kiwis at Dunedin
The match which gave us the precocious, mercurial Umar Akmal, who dazzled the world with his pristine stroke play but on this Eid Day, fell short of the target by 32 runs.
- THAT 2nd Test Match against Australia at Sydney
Do I even have to write a single word about this match?
- THAT 5th ODI against Australia at Perth
The match where Afridi couldn’t resist the hunger pangs
- One off T20 against Australia at Melbourne
- League match against England in T20 World Cup
- League match against Kiwis in T20 World Cup
- THAT Semi Final against Australia in T20 World Cup
When Michael Hussey officially became Pakistani’s enemy number 1.
- League match against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup
Now, as one may go through the match results and details, it is evident that Pakistan, despite all the upheavals it has to endure over the last two years for various reasons, hasn’t done THAT badly. For all the flak we get for being chokers, and we admittedly are the greatest chokers in world cricket right now, at least the one silver lining here is that we were good enough to bring these matches SO close. In a lot of these matches, either we bossed them from the day one, or we fought back resiliently, multiple times throughout the course of the match. As I mentioned earlier, it is beside the fact that we ended up losing all of them, we were CLOSE ENOUGH, and that itself is a massive achievement keeping in mind how turbulent these times have been for our cricket team.
The second and definitely more important observation during this research of mine was how often we gave Aussies a run for their money and EVERY SINGLE TIME, those five times we went close to them, every single time HUSSEY WAS THE MAN WHO KEPT US AT THE BAY. It is astonishing how Michael Hussey has played against us, considering that during his first series against Pakistan back in 2004/05 season, he was rather pedestrian.
When today’s match finished, I was seething. I am generally calm and hardly lose my temper or let anything affect me, but Pakistan Cricket team almost always manages to do this to me, and of late, they are doing this rather frequently. It took more than an hour to get hold of my emotions and be composed and coherent enough and not snap at my family members and friends after this loss. But once I did, and managed to write this post, I also realize that ultimately, this can only make our team hungrier and desperate for success. They are surely a talented bunch, and with exceptions of some god-awful retards, have the potential to light up during this English Summer.
Let us all collectively pray and hope that by the time team for English tour is announced, we will see the back of Imran Farhat for good, while hope that Kamran Akmal never EVER dons the wicket keeping gloves. Shoaib Akhtar, well, that man is an enigma and regardless of how fond I am of his bowling talent, I don’t think I want him touring England.
May Afridi’s men perform a miracle and bring some much needed boost we all need.
p.s: I HATE LOSING, more so, against INDIA. But most importantly, I HATE HATE HATE HARBHAJAN SINGH.