World Cup 2007 March 15, 2007

Bakwas is bakwas in Urdu or English

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Now here's a strange thing. Pakistan's cricketers are banned from speaking in English at press conferences. The reason we are told is that their wonderful use of Urdu will promote tourism in Pakistan. I'm not sure how that works, particularly since their words will be revealed to the world by the warbling English of PJ Mir, Pakistan's media manager?

Consider too that Urdu doesn't readily lend itself to describing a cricket match. A beautiful verse of poetry, yes, but try saying great cover drive without using any English words and you begin to sound like a dimwit--and Pakistan's players are no linguistic cousins of Mirza Ghalib.

In fact, the notion that speaking in Urdu will lure foreigners to Pakistan is fantastically crazy. By extending that logic the player chosen for the press conference grilling should have a shave, put on his coolest shades, an Hawaiian shirt, and a pair of shorts and flip-flops. Because let's get one thing clear: the sight of bearded men speaking in an Eastern tongue will not be a tempter for most people who don't happen to be Pakistanis.

Indeed, the idea that speaking Urdu might be enticing invokes a Western image of Orientalism that has long been discredited as racist.

The simple answer, of course, is that Pakistan's players should be allowed to speak in whatever language they wish. Inzamam, for example, enjoys jousting in English at press conferences, and he fully understands the questions put to him. One of the pleasures for journalists at a Pakistani press conference is Inzamam's considered pause after a question is put to him, a pause that is often followed by dead-pan humour. His vice-captain, Younis Khan, is as bubbly with his English as he is on the field.

The Pakistan Cricket Board, then, has created a solution to a problem it didn't really have and brought further controversy upon its head. And it is perhaps its head who this edict should apply to? Dr Nasim Ashraf has caused more problems with his utterances in English than his players ever have, and, yes, he probably does do a disservice to Pakistani tourism. He possibly also argues that he spends more time touring with the national team than back home in Pakistan so that he can do his bit for the Pakistan Tourist Board? I reckon Dr Ashraf should worry less about tourism and more about human development in Pakistan, his other job, which, if he makes a success, will do more for tourism than any cricket press conference.

Ultimately, though, bakwas is bakwas in Urdu or English--and there's enough of it emanating from the Pakistani camp to say: "Stop these trivial pursuits and start focusing on what really matters--like winning the World Cup."

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on January 9, 2011, 4:10 GMT

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  • testli5504537 on January 6, 2011, 10:53 GMT

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  • testli5504537 on December 23, 2010, 17:26 GMT

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  • testli5504537 on March 23, 2007, 8:53 GMT

    Hard luck pak team now try make a good comeback in up comming days Inzi should be made coach of team b'coz he knows his team well

  • testli5504537 on March 23, 2007, 5:05 GMT

    'Inzamam apparently recognised Woolmer's qualities as a human being (who could not?) but the captain's comments on his death - a "good" coach - damned him with faint praise' (Mike Selvey from The Guardian)


  • testli5504537 on March 22, 2007, 12:23 GMT

    another worldcup after 92 ,another embarasment and another captain resign or sacked ,familiar scene to pakistan cricket now ,but the loss of bob woolmer and inzi's retirmnet will effect pakistan cricket .authorities now should take some hard decison they should promote younger players likes of salman butt,yasir hameed,fawad alam,naveed latif etcc ..with the return of asid ,shoaib and shabbir pakistan still a team to considre for future pakistani bhaiyoo its the time to b postive in your nature i tipped pakistan cricket board to make a younger player like salman butt or shoaib malik give teh charge of ODi team and younis for test matches like austrlia did in past

  • testli5504537 on March 22, 2007, 8:38 GMT

    bakwas in English is Rubbish or Non-sense

  • testli5504537 on March 22, 2007, 8:25 GMT

    First of all my deepest condolences to the wife and the sons of Mr. Woolmer. In my opinion the death cause is heart failure and Mr. Woolmer died. Scratch on the neck - my dear sirs - when anyone vomate he hold his neck either by one or two hands so when he was vomating a lot he became tired and hold his neck and scratches are from his nails, which happend due to lot of pain and uncomfort during the vomating. so do not make this issue and issue. Regards Hameeduddin Khan - Jeddah

  • testli5504537 on March 22, 2007, 7:47 GMT

    I thought there was a perfectly good and appropriate woed in English for Bakwas :

    " Bullshit " .

    PCB has always attracted prize Bullshit Artists .

    2. I am however surprised why the Pakistani public find it so difficult to accept Pakistan 's early elimination from the World Cup . It was only to expected . Pakistan is a country which has been taken over by its Chowkidars . Seventy percent of all the resources are taken up by the Chowkidars not for chowkidari but increasingly for there person ex[penses and for the pamplering pf the upper level chowkidars . No wonder allk our institutions are crumbling . Our cricketers as well the majority of our people very poorly educated . There is no accountability for the Chowkidars or their stooges .

  • testli5504537 on March 22, 2007, 0:34 GMT

    inzy we gonna miss u.u win match for pakistan thousand time.allah bless u

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