Readers September 29, 2007

Comment of the week: A pundit from Pakistan

How a reader's comments can be constructive, expressive and delightful
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Furqan mailed in two comments on the Scenes from a Final post which are near-perfect examples of a) how disagreement on a blog can be firmly and civilly expressed and b) how a great contest ought to be celebrated. This is part of the first one:

"I was personally quite disappointed with Mukul's article. Yes, it was wonderfully written, factually accurate and it conveyed some excellent arguments. However, as his first post after the spectacular end to a fantastic final, I thought it was rather sour to focus half of the article on Shoaib Malik's crass comments. There were so many positives from this tournament, none more so than the excellent final, and after the turmoil that has affected cricket over this year I think it would have been far more apt to express gratitude and praise for the recovery of the game. I think any reasonable person can conclude that Malik's comments were in bad taste. I'm a Muslim in Pakistan and they certainly made me wince. However I think a paragraph expressing distate for the comments would have sufficed, rather than the torrent of negativity shown by Mukul and in numerous comments since..."

And in a second comment, he shows us, with joy and passion, how the thing is done:

"Oh, and after my previous post about what Malik said, I would just like to say that I enjoyed this tournament, and especially the final thoroughly. I absolutely loved how after being written off by so many journalists, especially in England (Hello Jonathan Agnew, whatever happened to your English team winning the World Twenty20), it was Pakistan and India that were by far the two best teams of the tournament. Pakistan won every match, except the two against India, very convincingly. India won match after match under extreme pressure in knock-out conditions. Together, we beat England, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, and above all, we both beat Australia - comfortably! A match that looked like Pakistan's bowlers were all over, turned around with some fantastic batting by the underrated Gautam Ghambir, decent bowling by [Irfan] Pathan and RP Singh (or 'Rudra the smiling assassin', as we like to call him in our house) and some long overdue pressure-induced poor shots from the top and middle-order Pakistani batsmen. With 54 runs needed of four overs, only 22 having come off the last four overs and only one batsman left, the match looked all over and it seemed like the tournament would fizzle out into 24 balls of anti-climactic cricket. But old man Misbah-ul-Haq, Mr Calm-Until-Only-One-More-Shot-Is-Required ul-Haq, changed the course of the match once again. The Pakistani fans (well, speaking for myself) had hope again, and the Indian fans watched anxiously as the runs required started to get lower and lower with the balls required not going down anywhere near as much. Then when Joginder-Look-Like-A-Rabbit-In-The-Headlights Sharma took centre stage, bowled a big wide and got wallopped for a Misbah special, it looked like there would only be one winner. Jogi bowled again, Misbah crouched down and we all knew what was coming. The Ashraful scoop duly appeared, the ball went up into the air past [Mahendra Singh] Dhoni and millions, nay billions perhaps held their breath. There it was, the ball in the air and the crowd in the background. Is it clearing the rope, have Pakistan won this? Oh yes...oh no, the ball is coming down and it doesn't look like it's going to clear the boundary - a four perhaps, I'll take that!.. oh no, it's not even going that far...oh no, there's a fielder under it, it's Sreesanth, it's out. Pakistan have lost, India have won! Gutted, we were so close but my God what a match! Look world, forget that last World Cup, now this is cricket, this is entertainment! Look at those Indians, wild with jubilation and ecstatic with happiness, look at those Pakistanis, shocked and distraught, look at Misbah, who will be re-playing that shot in his dreams for the rest of his life. What an amazing start to the tournament. Chris Gayle, you finally woke up for an hour and that was out of this world. What fantastic cricket throughout the tournament. Yuvraj Singh, you can forget about that crazed Dimiti Mascarenhas belting you for sixes forever now. What an unbelievable ending, Sreesanth, you must have been shaking like jelly but the ball ended up safely in your hands and how good must you have felt. Shoaib Malik's comments? They were just that, comments. I love cricket. And my God, that was cricket, that was entertainment, that was life."

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • praveen on October 10, 2007, 12:53 GMT

    for all those people who think religion comes before others,this is professional cricket played at international level under the banner of nations. so religion obviously dont come before cricket.

  • Nagesh on October 10, 2007, 10:32 GMT

    Well said.

  • ruchit on October 5, 2007, 0:23 GMT

    Hi Mukul,

    You have maneged to create a ruckus!!Personally I am not in agreement with what Shoaib Malik said but my opinion is not based on religious grounds but on what we know as political correctness.There is nothing wrong in being a demonstrative Muslim but it was not the proper platform to do so. But then it is not his fault entirely or may be it is not afterall a really big mistake.May be the PCB should educate its players as to what is to be said when and where. In the beginning I myself was shocked at what he said but later I reconciled myself with the fact that thanking their co-reliogionists is a part of muslim way of life and that it should be respected. The platform was not right.He should have considered that he was on an international stage and that Indian team had 2 muslims in its team.I think a simple thanks of Allah would have been sufficient. Just imagine had India lost and either of Pathan brothers would have fared badly how could have his statement been misconstrued against either of the Pathan brothers.

    However Mukul, by writing a totally new article on a 10 day old issue you have again stirred a hornet's nest which in my opinion is not correct.

    Please give Shoaib Malik a break.

    Faraz and Andy Singh to both of you: Your comments are in bad taste and smack of arrogance as well as ignorance. No decent and intelligent person would make comments like "programmed" and "brainwashed" on religious grounds in a cricket forum.

    To all my Pakistani friends and to my Indians co-nationals these things happen. They are part of our culture and upbringing. Just take a chill pill and relax. Enough river has flown under the bridge since the 20-20 finals and our respective teams are back at doing what they are very consistent in doing- being highly inconsistent. Aussies are gonna thrash India and RSA is going to knock out Pakistan. Getting a sense of deja-vu. Hope I am wrong.

    Mukul : Why don't you write a comment on Irfan Khan saying Mashallah as Zishan Iqbal pointed out. I am in agreement with hi. Or are you afraid that writing such an article will get you condemned a Hindutva supporter ?

    Regards.

    Ruchit.

  • Don on October 2, 2007, 14:24 GMT

    I feel really sorry for Shoaib Malik. ALready he must have been feeling bad enough for having lost a match that he must have won rather easily. On top of that, there was another presumptuos commentator asking him a question in English. I think, Shoaib had made up his mind even before the first question was asked, that he would apologise to Pakistani fans. Perhaps, with another home series following immediately after the T20 World Cup, he did not want too much as a backlash. It is also well known that the Pakistani team has always been overtly religious since Wasim Akram ceased to be captain. Added to that, people outside Pakistan may not be able to appreciate the genuine dangers that surround being the captain of the Pakistan cricket team. All these factors make me beleive that Shoaib's only intention was to apologise to the fans and assure them that the better team had won. I am also pretty sure that Malik is much better read than say an Inzamam or a Younis Khan. So he must surely be aware of the difference between Pakistani and Muslim. They are certainly not synonymous and will never be. Pakistan probably needs a good media manager to avoid these type of issues in future. To me, that Media manager's role will first be to ensure that in a match involving Pakistan, the presenter must ensure that he asks questions in Urdu. This is not difficult because no match involving Pakistan is played these days without the involvement of some ex-Pakistani cricketer in the commentary team. I am quite sure that had Shoaib himself chosen to speak in Urdu, then his answer would have been very different. I think people like Mukul Kesavan who ceratinly would have followed much more of the game - albeit from a perspective-giving distance - would know that Pakistani cricketers are not the most eloquent speakers. It is therefore quite diasappointing that Mukul has chosen to make this into a topic - not just once, but yet again. I agree that by making Furqan's comments the center-piece of the blog, he has probably attempted to correct his earlier mistake. But it has only backfired. There will always be readers and beleivers like Faraz who choose to make religion their favourite, all-encompassing topic of discussion. It will be good for all of us if we pray that his kind are in a minority. Religion is a very private matter and best practiced as a message between one and the almighty. Whenever it has been publicly discussed, it has stoked passions of the wrong kind and led to endless misery. I hope Mukul will let this matter to rest by posting a new discussion - which we all woudl love to comment on.

  • Ravi on October 2, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    To Anthony who mentioned what Symonds said "I've been watching how India has been carrying on over the last few days".

    You're not alone. I'm an India fan, I like a good game of cricket and enjoyed the way our youngsters performed. But I did not like their petty chest-beating afterwards. I'm also quite shocked that no Indian player went to console a devastated Misbah-ul-Haq as he stuck around the field for minutes after playing that scoop shot. Eventually an umpire had to get him to his feet.

    Great display by the young Indian cricketers but their attitude afterwards has left a bad after-taste.

  • boom boom afridi on October 2, 2007, 8:26 GMT

    naresh - of course i accept india as a country! in fact i like india! not at all sure what you mean, perhaps you didn't understand the thrust of my argument (and that is entirely your problem).

    how smug you all are under the banner of nationalism where you have to put being "indian" first over anything else, including personal freedom. that's not freedom is it? that's not tolerance is it? let people be free to support whichever team they want to support, whether it's west indies, england, india or pakistan, irrespective of whether they were born in that country. and let them support these teams for whatever reason they want, including religion!

    i presume that you guys think english people in britain, whose parents or grandparents are indian, should support england in cricket, right, given that they have to put their country first? when india play in england you can see on tv that the grounds are always full of "british indians" -but britain allows these ppl to support india, even though they are english. it doesn't insist they be english first and indian second. it's clearly a more tolerant society than india is.

  • Andy Singh on October 2, 2007, 1:34 GMT

    Issues like this turns a match from one set of fans to religion vs religion. To top it off he takes a leap of faith that all the muslims in India support him. Like someone pointed out that Indian muslims are self reliant and they dont need any pity. They I know for sure were not supporting them especially this generation. They have as much right on Indian team as any hindu. I think it is time to move on.

  • Ravi on October 1, 2007, 20:27 GMT

    I think the using of the word "Muslim" by Shoaib to relate to his team's fans in his comments is what is worng. Religion has nothing to do with sports. World over in any given sport people only talk about a fan of a team (here in this case it is Pakistan's cricket team) and never a team is associated with religion or vice versa.

  • ismail on October 1, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    I am an indian muslim and not for one moment did i want pakistan to win. when india won, i along with the scores of indians in the restaurant broke out in wild cheers. So if malik thinks muslims all over the world supported his team, then he is way off base. I know this is a free world and anyone has a right to express his own views. But with recognition comes a responsibility to behave in a responsible way. Teams in any sport play under the banner of one's country and not under the flag of any religion.The world was divided in the middle ages on the basis of religion.Muslims in asia and africa and christians in europe.We have come a long way from there and comments like those arent meant for the present age. What i want to put across is the danger of the game degenerating into a clash between religions, if such comments are allowed to continue. Now imagine Dhoni walking over to the presentation ceremony and announcing that this victory was a victory for hindus throughout the world and Ricky ponting announcing that their victory was for the christians. If i could say in one word - it would be horrible. Shoaib's a young captain and i know he wasnt thinking clearly when he said that, but what angers me most is people who like to believe that it isnt a big issue. We already have enough troubles, with being divided as different nations. Lets not increase the troubles by dividing people across natons by religion.

  • Naresh on October 1, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    Ismail Jani- well said. Boom boom Afridi - perhaps you still don't accept India (and that fact isentirely your problem).

    RickGore - and what did you POMs do when you won the Ashes?

  • praveen on October 10, 2007, 12:53 GMT

    for all those people who think religion comes before others,this is professional cricket played at international level under the banner of nations. so religion obviously dont come before cricket.

  • Nagesh on October 10, 2007, 10:32 GMT

    Well said.

  • ruchit on October 5, 2007, 0:23 GMT

    Hi Mukul,

    You have maneged to create a ruckus!!Personally I am not in agreement with what Shoaib Malik said but my opinion is not based on religious grounds but on what we know as political correctness.There is nothing wrong in being a demonstrative Muslim but it was not the proper platform to do so. But then it is not his fault entirely or may be it is not afterall a really big mistake.May be the PCB should educate its players as to what is to be said when and where. In the beginning I myself was shocked at what he said but later I reconciled myself with the fact that thanking their co-reliogionists is a part of muslim way of life and that it should be respected. The platform was not right.He should have considered that he was on an international stage and that Indian team had 2 muslims in its team.I think a simple thanks of Allah would have been sufficient. Just imagine had India lost and either of Pathan brothers would have fared badly how could have his statement been misconstrued against either of the Pathan brothers.

    However Mukul, by writing a totally new article on a 10 day old issue you have again stirred a hornet's nest which in my opinion is not correct.

    Please give Shoaib Malik a break.

    Faraz and Andy Singh to both of you: Your comments are in bad taste and smack of arrogance as well as ignorance. No decent and intelligent person would make comments like "programmed" and "brainwashed" on religious grounds in a cricket forum.

    To all my Pakistani friends and to my Indians co-nationals these things happen. They are part of our culture and upbringing. Just take a chill pill and relax. Enough river has flown under the bridge since the 20-20 finals and our respective teams are back at doing what they are very consistent in doing- being highly inconsistent. Aussies are gonna thrash India and RSA is going to knock out Pakistan. Getting a sense of deja-vu. Hope I am wrong.

    Mukul : Why don't you write a comment on Irfan Khan saying Mashallah as Zishan Iqbal pointed out. I am in agreement with hi. Or are you afraid that writing such an article will get you condemned a Hindutva supporter ?

    Regards.

    Ruchit.

  • Don on October 2, 2007, 14:24 GMT

    I feel really sorry for Shoaib Malik. ALready he must have been feeling bad enough for having lost a match that he must have won rather easily. On top of that, there was another presumptuos commentator asking him a question in English. I think, Shoaib had made up his mind even before the first question was asked, that he would apologise to Pakistani fans. Perhaps, with another home series following immediately after the T20 World Cup, he did not want too much as a backlash. It is also well known that the Pakistani team has always been overtly religious since Wasim Akram ceased to be captain. Added to that, people outside Pakistan may not be able to appreciate the genuine dangers that surround being the captain of the Pakistan cricket team. All these factors make me beleive that Shoaib's only intention was to apologise to the fans and assure them that the better team had won. I am also pretty sure that Malik is much better read than say an Inzamam or a Younis Khan. So he must surely be aware of the difference between Pakistani and Muslim. They are certainly not synonymous and will never be. Pakistan probably needs a good media manager to avoid these type of issues in future. To me, that Media manager's role will first be to ensure that in a match involving Pakistan, the presenter must ensure that he asks questions in Urdu. This is not difficult because no match involving Pakistan is played these days without the involvement of some ex-Pakistani cricketer in the commentary team. I am quite sure that had Shoaib himself chosen to speak in Urdu, then his answer would have been very different. I think people like Mukul Kesavan who ceratinly would have followed much more of the game - albeit from a perspective-giving distance - would know that Pakistani cricketers are not the most eloquent speakers. It is therefore quite diasappointing that Mukul has chosen to make this into a topic - not just once, but yet again. I agree that by making Furqan's comments the center-piece of the blog, he has probably attempted to correct his earlier mistake. But it has only backfired. There will always be readers and beleivers like Faraz who choose to make religion their favourite, all-encompassing topic of discussion. It will be good for all of us if we pray that his kind are in a minority. Religion is a very private matter and best practiced as a message between one and the almighty. Whenever it has been publicly discussed, it has stoked passions of the wrong kind and led to endless misery. I hope Mukul will let this matter to rest by posting a new discussion - which we all woudl love to comment on.

  • Ravi on October 2, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    To Anthony who mentioned what Symonds said "I've been watching how India has been carrying on over the last few days".

    You're not alone. I'm an India fan, I like a good game of cricket and enjoyed the way our youngsters performed. But I did not like their petty chest-beating afterwards. I'm also quite shocked that no Indian player went to console a devastated Misbah-ul-Haq as he stuck around the field for minutes after playing that scoop shot. Eventually an umpire had to get him to his feet.

    Great display by the young Indian cricketers but their attitude afterwards has left a bad after-taste.

  • boom boom afridi on October 2, 2007, 8:26 GMT

    naresh - of course i accept india as a country! in fact i like india! not at all sure what you mean, perhaps you didn't understand the thrust of my argument (and that is entirely your problem).

    how smug you all are under the banner of nationalism where you have to put being "indian" first over anything else, including personal freedom. that's not freedom is it? that's not tolerance is it? let people be free to support whichever team they want to support, whether it's west indies, england, india or pakistan, irrespective of whether they were born in that country. and let them support these teams for whatever reason they want, including religion!

    i presume that you guys think english people in britain, whose parents or grandparents are indian, should support england in cricket, right, given that they have to put their country first? when india play in england you can see on tv that the grounds are always full of "british indians" -but britain allows these ppl to support india, even though they are english. it doesn't insist they be english first and indian second. it's clearly a more tolerant society than india is.

  • Andy Singh on October 2, 2007, 1:34 GMT

    Issues like this turns a match from one set of fans to religion vs religion. To top it off he takes a leap of faith that all the muslims in India support him. Like someone pointed out that Indian muslims are self reliant and they dont need any pity. They I know for sure were not supporting them especially this generation. They have as much right on Indian team as any hindu. I think it is time to move on.

  • Ravi on October 1, 2007, 20:27 GMT

    I think the using of the word "Muslim" by Shoaib to relate to his team's fans in his comments is what is worng. Religion has nothing to do with sports. World over in any given sport people only talk about a fan of a team (here in this case it is Pakistan's cricket team) and never a team is associated with religion or vice versa.

  • ismail on October 1, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    I am an indian muslim and not for one moment did i want pakistan to win. when india won, i along with the scores of indians in the restaurant broke out in wild cheers. So if malik thinks muslims all over the world supported his team, then he is way off base. I know this is a free world and anyone has a right to express his own views. But with recognition comes a responsibility to behave in a responsible way. Teams in any sport play under the banner of one's country and not under the flag of any religion.The world was divided in the middle ages on the basis of religion.Muslims in asia and africa and christians in europe.We have come a long way from there and comments like those arent meant for the present age. What i want to put across is the danger of the game degenerating into a clash between religions, if such comments are allowed to continue. Now imagine Dhoni walking over to the presentation ceremony and announcing that this victory was a victory for hindus throughout the world and Ricky ponting announcing that their victory was for the christians. If i could say in one word - it would be horrible. Shoaib's a young captain and i know he wasnt thinking clearly when he said that, but what angers me most is people who like to believe that it isnt a big issue. We already have enough troubles, with being divided as different nations. Lets not increase the troubles by dividing people across natons by religion.

  • Naresh on October 1, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    Ismail Jani- well said. Boom boom Afridi - perhaps you still don't accept India (and that fact isentirely your problem).

    RickGore - and what did you POMs do when you won the Ashes?

  • Fan of Shoaib press conferences on October 1, 2007, 14:04 GMT

    I think Shoaib was spot on withhis comments. In fact, this has nothing to do with his skills in English either. Anyone who has a bit of awareness of world matters can easily understand that Muslim = Pakistani. Obviously, Mukul isn't in touch with the realities and so he got it completely wrong. He also forgets that everyone else likes to hide one's head in sand so that all such perceptions and problems will go away.

    Mukul, Don't you know that if you don't speak of such problems, then these problems will cease to exist? That is what guys like Farhan are trying to say. But then your English reading skills are poor, so you won't easily understand that.

  • Roshan on October 1, 2007, 13:54 GMT

    To Rick Gore :

    Rick good observation on Cricket in India. You might say that we are over obsessed with the game but this is a fact that an average indian's first choice has been & will always be cricket.The reason is simple, In a billion people country we do not have a representative on International circuit that we can associate with & that means no inspiration for the younger lot to draw. When some other sport takes the limelight the duration is so small that nobody remembers when was the last time it happened!!! For eg Hockey...so called national game..once champions today we stand nowhere....Cricket in terms of success is by far the best sport...You can argue overall success but when it comes to cricket on home soil Indian team is no short of invincibles...I can bearly remember two home sereis losses in 20 years & we have beaten everyone so much so that Steven waugh termed India as Final frontier. So long the team is winning, & that too comprehensively Indian audiences dont mind home turf or away!...Many people from different countries are thinking the celebrations are bit too much on T20 success but they are not considering the other side...This very side suffered at the hands of people on losing in Carribean. Their houses broken, effigies burnt & what not so when some one like Symonds says that celebrations are far more than he must consider himself lucky that he is not subject to this sort of negative crowd behaviour & should not feel jealous with the heroic welcome that thne team has got. We as Indians do not have much to celebrate in terms of international success when at last we have one please dont think we are going over the top with it...Try & think English team celebration after they won ashes...it wasnt even a international achievement...But we knew that they have won against all odds same was our situation so please respect are feelings.

  • Mathew Kuriakose on October 1, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    Lovely piece by Furqan. Thanks, Mr. Kesavan, for publishing it. Furqan really built up the suspense and excitement of the whole tournament wonderfully well. It really made me feel like I was right there in South Africa. Well done. Keep writing.

  • Vikram on October 1, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    Hey Rick!!! It's crazy in India we love the game to bits. But you are right other games sometimes are left out (for cash); not entirely, but still.

    I remember Trafalgar Square after victory in Ashes a few years back thousands turned up for the victory. It was great. Don't be surprised about the 3.5 Million. It's a small proportion of population. Mumbai officially has 13 Million and unofficially (slums etc., not marked within municipal areas is over 20 Million)that would come to a similar number if England were to win a world cup in Football.

    Wow!!! Imagine England winning the world cup. I remember Liverpool's victory it was on BBC for 2 weeks with victory processions all over the country. They painted the country red...

    i.e. it happens, what football is to UK , Cricket is to India. Cheers! Vikram

  • John Andrew on October 1, 2007, 10:44 GMT

    I would also like to add that there's nothing wrong with cricket being played by any team with any affiliation.

    In England, I have played against teams that affiliate with India, or with Pakistan, or with the West Indies; we have Sikh teams, Hindu teams and Muslim teams; village teams, church teams and county teams.

    I'm sure that the Indians on this site are aware that cricket in India really began with religious teams in Bombay: the Parsi, Hindu and Muslim Gymkhanas were the original major teams in Indian competition.

    Although some may disagree, I see no harm in this in the field of cricket: these are simply general affiliations and often the affiliations only have historical applicability.

    Politics, however, is a different matter: every country has a minority of people of different religion to the majority and it is very dangerous for them when religion and nationalism mix.

  • John Andrew on October 1, 2007, 10:29 GMT

    To Ashaq: Thank you for clarifying Shoaib Malik's stated position on his comments.

    If he has said that it was a slip of the tongue then I suggest that we should all take his word for it and move on.

    I see no reason to harp on about it.

  • Rick Gore on October 1, 2007, 8:53 GMT

    3.5 million. Thats the number of people who poured on ancient Mumbai streets to get a glimpse of the cricketers. In return they got hoarse throats and cold (due to rain). Imagine atleast a million hoarse voices and countless sneezes!Surely the medicine outlets did brisk business. Thats a small price to pay for a moment so rare in Indian cricket. A world cup victory! But the number is simply staggering. I live in London and its population is 7.5 million. Its an 'eyes-glaze-over-while-your-jaw-drops-to-your-feet' feeling that half the London turned up for the underachieving cricketers. I am really really curious. Does it mean so much for Indians? Victory in a sport played by a handful of nations can bring a entire country of a billion folks to a maddening frenzy. Do the Indians accord the same welcome to victorious teams of other sports? Hockey for instance, which I am told is their national sport. I am curious to know what kind of welcome Vishwanathan Anand would get for his World Championship victory. Chess is a sport played by entire world. So would he have a victory parade like the cricketers? If not, then its a travesty, really. Cricket for some inexplicable reason holds the collective conscience of a billion people to ransome. Inspite of the presence of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Sehwag, Kumble etc, they have won precious few tournaments in the past 15 years. Whereas people like Anand, Advani (the cueist), Sethi and in the past Padukone have been very consistent. Maybe the print media is obsessed with cricket. Maybe they report about which part of the egg, the white or yellow, was preferred by Dhoni on the front page and put Advani's world championship victory as a footnote on the back page. Maybe the television is consumed by the sport. They show countless reruns of the few famous final wins of Indian cricket every day but forget to showcase Padukone's great wins even once a year. I hold the common Indian and the governing bodies of the other sports in India at fault for this. The common man in India gives two hoots for anything non-crcket and perhaps (I maybe wrong here, but I bet a million dollars that I am not)the governing bodies are token reward positions in political games.

  • maanav on October 1, 2007, 6:04 GMT

    I have been reading this blog for sometime now but never really cared to comment..i liked what Mr.Farqan has written..it was like watching the match all over..it was really some good writing..man u r talented..hats off to u!!

    There was some childish bashing of religion,country,race,etc..it seemed like those bbc and cnn blogs.But this one from Mr.Faraz was bothering.Mr.faraz said... "Shoaib is a Muslim before he is a Pakistani or a cricketer. One would argue that lets keep religion out of cricket. However a Muslim believes that faith is a way of life; not an hour exercise in the church, temple, mosque or a synagogue. If keeping faith out of cricket is the slogan...." well what i would really like to tell Faraz bhai is that u have totally mucked up the order man.. religion before country?? There are so many religions so many faiths in this world..Every individual has their own sense of faith..it might be an hour, a day, a year..a church,a mosque,or just his home..doesnt really matter.does it? There r so many elements to everyone`s life..country,race,religion,family,profession,etc etc..but the utmost element is the HUMAN element. so get the order right..it`s humanity,humanity,humanity.....and if there`s still place to anything in life it`s country and somewhere down the lane come our profession and family. Religion is a wonderful guide to help us realise this truth.Dont let it dominate our minds and our deeds. Dont try to create barriers in people by name of religion and faith.There are already enough barriers in form of countries. make this world a better place to live in. and may i add enjoy cricket without any boundaries!!!

  • syed on October 1, 2007, 4:42 GMT

    Shoaib comments in the end was'nt fair.Now the talk about his english or anythingh thats makes him look bad or anythingh that gives him some reprieve will not change to what he said and what we heard. Bottom line one should choose right words specially when u r speaking in front of the whole world.Probably Shaoib did mean what he said or probably he didn't mean it.Either he or God knows it. This was a mistake and PCB should educate their ambassadors to be selective.With captain's cap not only comes the responsibilty to perform on the field but off the field as well. I might sound over the board but ICC should give clear instructions to respective country as what is not expected from their Captain off the field.Remember the ceremony at the end of the match is still a part of the match.How good would that had been had Shoiab Malik made similar religious comment on the field?I am sure any player from any country in the field or off the field will loose it and then we have match refree jumping in.There is fine imposition and then ban the layer from playing few matches.Just because match has ended doesnt mean one can speak anythingh and have people wonder whether it was right or wrong to say like that? BOTTOM LINE:IF u can't control ur emotions or anger then learn to keep ur mouth shut till u have reached ur hotel room and thats where ur responsibility of being captain ends.Thnak you.

  • lakshman sapre on October 1, 2007, 4:13 GMT

    Beautiful work Furqan!You made us relive those moments as they should have been enjoyed.Cricket lovers all over the world share the same feelings,same excitement.Yes we have enjoyed it and the subcontinent for once has conquered the world with their beautiful game.We have done it together.Let's forget Shoaib Malik's comments and enjoy his and his team's exciting cricket

  • Andy Singh on October 1, 2007, 4:06 GMT

    Faizi wrote: "Andy Singh, Faraz, et al are different sides of the same coin"

    Not at all. His views are tribal and I think mine are a breath of fresh air. His are confrontational and mine seek peace. I am trying to find middle ground and he is being an extremist.

    They are all blaming this stuff on translation. One simple honest sorry would have been enough.

  • Super Red on September 30, 2007, 20:54 GMT

    Faraz, I'm an Indian Muslim. My initial reaction to Shoaib's comments was disappointment - why was he thanking me as a Muslim. Was it a sly dig at Indian Muslims for supporting India, a sentiment I have often heard my Pakistani friends express to me? But on reflection, I realised that I was completely over-analysing his comments. He meant to thank Pakistani's all over the world, it came out as Muslims instead in his haste and nerves. But Faraz, I do think you are taking things to far in YOUR comments. Indian Muslims support the Indian cricket team because they live in India. Their culture is Indian Muslim. If you want to believe that by supporting the Indian team they have somehow compromised their faith than you are misguided. Indian Muslims are proud that they have stayed in India, that they practice their faith sometimes in difficulty (as a minority community) and contribute greatly to Indian society. This isn't brainwashing or indoctrination, there is nothing wrong with and Indian Muslim suppoting the Indian cricket team! On a final note, I was a sceptic on the T20 but really took it - not just because of an Indian win but because there were some really great finishes and some great cricket. Misbah was a great find for Pakistan, as was Sohail Tanvir. Nice to see some youngsters flourish for India - Rohit Sharma and Gambhir were excellent, and I've not seen anyone bat like Yuvraj did. Morkel brothers for SA were also good finds. T20 is here to stay, which is great!

  • Raman VikramAdith on September 30, 2007, 17:41 GMT

    HAHA, looks like you've unearthed the next Cricinfo columnist from Pakistan! Quality stuff there Furqan!

  • Faraz on September 30, 2007, 17:38 GMT

    To Jeet:

    The actual problem lies not in my comments, but in the fact that Indians are indoctrinated into secular ideology because it suits Indian national interest; whereas Pakistanis are indoctrinated into religious belief because it suits Pakistani national interest. People raised in either country will obviously have difference in opinion and perspective in the way they see and hear things. If Dhoni had thanked all the Hindus around the world, I wouldn't have any problem with that either. It is because I was raised with a mind set that religion encompasses all; whereas Indians aren't. Hence we have this long debate.

    To Satyajit:

    Slip of the tongue doesn't necessarily mean not being able to find the right synonym, as you tend to believe. It has a broad meaning. Sometimes your chains of thoughts get off the rail. Check this beauty pageant contestant answering a simple question in English, which is her first language.

    Try typing, "miss carolina" on youtube, you'll get my answer from Miss Carolina beauty pageant. And mind you, she is speaking an American who is speaking English.

    You seemed confused when you say that religion doesn't make you loose or win. Religion does, infact, give you an impetus to win; an edge towards achieving something. It doesn't guarantee a win; but it certainly motives you. If you are trying to imply that Wasim and Waqar were clean shaved that is why team was doing well and then Inzimam culture came along, therefore they started to decline; then I'm really sorry to inform you that you yourself has contradicted your statement when you say that religion doesn't make you win or loose.

    To Ganesh:

    Giving Haj subsidies or educational incentives doesn't explain whats happening on a mass scale with Indian Muslims. In Pakistan, there are also so called subsidies to minorities, ministries, etc. Infact, that goes on to explain that something is wrong happening with the minorities and thats why government had to step up and take those measures. If everything was fair and balanced, why bother with incentives and quotas for minorities? Indeed, its you who needs some growing up to do, my friend.

  • Faizi from Allahabad, India on September 30, 2007, 17:31 GMT

    Pull your pants back up gents. I have read all the entries uptil now and here are some of my conclusions. Contrary to most of the other self righteous bloggers, I know that I can be wrong here. If you feel so, I apologize.

    Some conclusions: - Shoiab's comments were unintentional, in a foreign language and it came across clearly as him saying shukriya to all his supporters. After the ruckus that this seems to have caused, maybe, he should clarify his comments when he gets a chance to do so. Apology is uncalled for, as he didn't hurt anyone, except for people who seem to have so many hang ups.

    - Mukul gave a little bit too much attention to that comment and created a negative where there were so many positives to draw from. Maybe, he could have just mentioned it and asked for a clarification, which certainly would have been prudent as opposed to coming down so hard on someone who just said a few words after an emotional game in a foreign language. It certainly was not fair to Shoaib. Overal, however, Mukul is hardly a xenophobic person. When most of us ask for a break for Shoaib, lets give him a break too. He just over reacted on the minor at the wrong time (thats for sure), thats all.

    - Andy Singh, Faraz, et al are different sides of the same coin. Having seen both sides of the border in many different lights, I must venture to say that MOST of our people are brainwashed to a certain degree. And, MOST of the brainwashed happen to be the western educated folks! Don't be surprised, guys. Your degrees might convey a brain that kinda works, but, it doesn't tell me that you have a heart. They love to play the brown sahibs and playing the holier than thou game. Rather lecture than listen, I think. Its a desi problem across the board and helps to explain how fractious we seem to be in our minds. WE HAVE A HUGE IDENTITY PROBLEM.

    ....

    - Indian muslims (like me) don't need any crutches or anyone to defend us by naming movie stars or our ex-president. We have self respect and we share the land with other people with dignity and respect. If someone crosses us, we'll see if we can reason with him and if not, we'll most likely cross back. Self respect is more important than trying find it in others. Live and let live works. We're muslims and we're desis. We're here, we have a beautiful composite culture and we number close to 200 million. We don't need any packaging by any of the brainwashed folks from either side of the border. Sorry to rain on your parade boys but we're nobody's pawn. And, no one should be.

    - Lets focus on cricket and face it...we admire all good desi players, no matter where they come from. Open your hearts people. Your degrees won't help you here.

    - Take care ALL and happy ramadhan to all the muslims of the world. ;-)

    Peace,

    Faizi...

  • Faraz on September 30, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    Sky_unlimited:

    This debate on Shoaib's comment is not cricket related; now how are expecting me to respond to it by discussing cricket? There is history, religion, culture, etc. tied to it and the topic is non-cricket related; naturally I'll bring up those issues to address the matter in hand.

    Are you telling me that because Shah Rukh, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Irfan Pathan, Kalam Azad, etc are doing well in India therefore millions of Indian muslims are doing fine? By the way Kalam Azad is just playing a ceremonial and symbolic role without having any real powers that Prime Ministers have. Aren't you aware of the fact that majority of Indian Muslim population has less paid jobs on average, less education on average, less business ownership on average? Please check the facts online than come back to this blog a little bit more informed. I have some relatives in India and when they visit us and see the life style of Pakistanis here, they are simply appauled.

    By giving a few examples, please don't try to cover up the real problems. During British Raj, the ...Saheb management used to install few Indians and Muslims at some high posts to show the Indian population that its their people who they are representing; while the were plundering and looting Indians of their wealth. Same with USA; blacks are put on some of the posts where they have public visibility to appease black population, but does that explain the sorry plight of black Americans and their socio-economic conditions? Ofcourse Not!

    Please type "indian muslims adopting hindu names" in your Google search, and see yourself what Washington Times is saying.

  • Karthik aaditya on September 30, 2007, 17:07 GMT

    More than the ... that Shoaib spoke or Mukul and Furqan wrote, Indian fans need to be wary about the politicians hijacking the success that Dhoni's boys have achieved.

    ‘Success has many godfathers, failure is an orphan!’

    What is the first thing an Indian international cricketer would like to do after an exhausting but successful 79-day tour of Ireland and England, followed by a triumphant two-week World Twenty20 Cup tournament? He would like to head straight back home to his family.

    But what if he arrives on a Wednesday morning and there is a grueling 7-match one-day series in different corners of India and that too against the 50-over ODI world champs Australia, with the first tie being scheduled at Bangalore on Saturday? He might reluctantly proceed to India’s Garden City so as to recover from the jet lag and get ready for battle.

    The last thing he might want to do on arrival at the international airport is to go on a five-hour motorcade through different parts of Mumbai and to wade his way through crowds to receive a bonus cheque, especially if he knows that there is no time to spend with his family. He could even wonder whether the tamasha being ostensibly organised on his behalf is actually meant to promote the image of various politicians, including the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president who is also the head of the National Congress Party which is part of a coalition government in Maharashtra and India. He might wonder why the route to the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai is plastered with posters of Mahendra Singh Dhoni holding up the World T20 Cup and standing next to the beaming Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. Plenty of food for thought in that!

    Your worn-out cricketer could even react to the report that the Indian National Congress president has invited the team by wondering whether this means that he has to sacrifice on time with his family and cut down on match-practice by sneaking in a visit to Delhi so that he can be photographed with Sonia Gandhi. He might remember or be told by former Indian cricketers that when Kapil Dev’s team won the 50-over World Cup in 1983 in England, they were invited for tea by the Prime Minister of the country and that the original Mrs. Gandhi even coined a slogan that “India can do it”. That there were no elections due at that time made it all seem more a matter of patriotism than politics!

    Your tired-out cricketer could, if he has the time and the inclination, even wonder at the difference a few months can make. He would remember that just six months ago, after being knocked out of the first round of the 50-over World Cup in the West Indies, he and his team-mates had to sneak into the country to escape from angry fans who were fed on a daily diet of media stories — pun intended — that the shabby performance was due to infighting and an obsession with endorsements, all at the cost of the overall objective of winning for India!

    Your worn-out cricketer could even wonder whether the largesse being showered on him by the CM of the state where he lives is motivated by an actual love of the game or by the political perception that now is the time to cash in on the public mood by wearing a sporting heart on the sleeve! I just could not understand why Sharad Pawar wasn't 'shoved' or 'pushed' away by Dhoni and his team mates when he came running for his photo to be taken. I did not care what Shoaib said in the post-match conference. I cannot understand what all this hype is about. What else did you expect from him? Which world are you living in Mukul?

  • Suresh on September 30, 2007, 16:36 GMT

    Mukul Does not want to move on from Shoaib's comments after the match. After writing the article once on it he goes back and posts another one with comments from one of his supporters(A strong one, as this supporter was from Pakistan).I have a feeling that shoaib said whatever he said with the intensions of avoiding any backlashes after going back to Pakistan.And, I think that he did not properly communicate whatever he wanted to say.I have a feeling that he was only trying to tell all his supporters that his team did their best to win the match, but they were sorry for disappointing.

  • Ashaq on September 30, 2007, 16:28 GMT

    To John Andrew Shoaib Malik has clarified that it was indeed a slip of the tongue. Given the occasion his own personal dissapointment at the defeat, and also the fact he is not the best of speakers he got his words mixed up.

    Interestingly the Post of Furqan which have been highlighted at the top where conveniently edited by our Kesavan. Furqan as I recall did mention in those posts that Shoaib Malik clarified his remarks in an interview.

    So what we have here is very shoddy and opportunistic journalism....sure I know Journalists what earn a living but this is just crass.

  • Faraz on September 30, 2007, 15:45 GMT

    To JamJam:

    Bravo! Another cognitively challenged individual just happened to stumble upon this blog. Yes,

    cricket is played between nations and not religions. But you failed to forget that nations are

    build of people and people identify themselves with a belief. You never bothered asking those

    turban, holy-cross, religious wrist band wearing cricketers to take those off before they enter

    the preciously secular cricketing field; you never questioned Indian Muslim filmstars and sports

    stars saying Inshallah, Mashallah. If religion has no place in cricket, let there be none else

    where.

    To Ismail Jani:

    Well, the topic is religion related, naturally I have to talk about it in my reply as well.

    Don't know why you have objection to this. I can agree with you that Shoaib's comments were

    indoctrinated; but I simply don't see anything wrong it; other than Islamophobia getting the

    good out of the Indians. And by the way, I meant slip of the tongue not in a sense that he

    failed to find the right words, but failed to be politically correct. About Afridi and Irfan

    during national anthem; I really don't see the connection that you are trying to make. If

    anything else, it goes to show Irfan has been whipped into pseudo-patronism; and he had to go an

    extra mile to prove his loyality whereas Afridi didn't need to.

    So my conclusion,

    Programmed: Yes Politically correct: NO Has the right to thank Muslims: YES

  • Subramani on September 30, 2007, 15:10 GMT

    This article clearly brings out the meaning of the need for retraint in such matters. Mukul Kesavan is certainly a wonderful writer who quite obviously loves cricket and more than that, is an India well wisher. I have always believed however, that there is a need to be balanced when it comes to such matters. As I said here somewhere earlier, we cannot, just cannot follow our journalistic instincts of wanting to sensationalise to bring out something for people to write about. We are in the midst of a modern day clash of civilisations. Any attempt to add to this senselesless should be avoided I feel. After all we are trying to find fault with a simple man unfamiliar with the nuances of pucca English in causing this foolish debate.

  • John Andrew on September 30, 2007, 14:19 GMT

    One further comment in defence of test cricket, hoping to explain the attitudes of some of the English and Australian commentators:

    1) English and Australian people tend to prefer test cricket to other forms of the game and that, at least in part, is down to our long rivalry in the ashes series.

    2) I think that it would be a great loss for cricket to lose the primacy of the long format of the game because it is the ultimate test of the players abilities.

    3) 20-20 cricket does indeed involve skill but there is more luck than there is in test cricket, if for no other reason than that the scores are larger and therefore a game is less likely to come down to a run or two, where luck is more likely be the factor.

    4) In defence of Mr Agnew: he has also gone down on record as describing the 20-20 tournament as a very successful event and is not at all bitter about his team's lack of success in it.

    5) I don't think that any sensible commentators in England are denigrating India's success in the competition but they are concerned to keep the longer format of the game intact.

  • John Andrew on September 30, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    Just thought that I'd come in with an English point of view.

    1) I'm delighted that the 20-20 tournament was such a success and was also pleased to see the final contested in great spirit between two extremely good teams. I do not mind your celebrations one bit: you won a major international competition in your country's national sport.

    2) I think that the comments made by Shoaib Malik (who captained his side with aplomb) were probably unintentional.

    3) The words he used do not seem to me to imply that he was just thanking his god but that he was thanking all muslims for their support. This seems a bit presumptuous given that, as has already been clearly pointed out, several muslims were in the opposition squad.

    4) I don't think that this is a serious error but it would seem to me that if someone makes a mistake then it is normal to apologise for that mistake. I don't know whether Shoaib has given any public comment on what he said. Can anyone else enlighten me?

    5) Having said all that I also think that it is a shame that a cricket commentator should close his article about a successful final to a successful competition by aiming his fire at the opposition captain. I agree that it would have been better if it had been mentioned in passing rather than having been central to the article.

  • Sameer Ropani on September 30, 2007, 13:50 GMT

    satyajit : you seem to be an extremist who this only people who are clean shaven are humans and others are bad. What bias! You really need to come to the modern world and learn the civics.

  • boom boom afridi on September 30, 2007, 13:29 GMT

    to ismail jani: so what if pathan was singing the national anthem and afridi was not? what the hell does that prove? are you just a fan of nationalism, where you have to belt out your love for your country from the rooftops? is that a more attractive quality to you? do you need years of programming, mr andy singh, to be able to sing the national anthem with such force?

    the malik comment is an irrelevance now anyway, the debate on this blog has moved on. and i have to say the comments have been very interesting. the conclusion that we can draw is that nationalism (was hitler not a nationalist?), however ugly, however aggressive, is accepted, in fact encouraged (how brilliant pathan was for singing so loudly etc etc). but a lot of our indian friends clearly think religion is a dirty word, never to be spoken publicly, to be kept hushed up. some people have even mocked our "bearded players", shame on you. and the ironic thing is, ppl like mr andy singh and mr jani think they're so tolerant! go figure!

    let's live and let live. i look forward to kaneria bowling india out in november, and then thanking the hindus around the world for praying for him, it will be a beautiful moment.

    and i look forward to that maverick, that fighter, that competitor, that "bearded player", our non-national-anthem-singing-hero, shahid khan afridi, aka boom boom, scoring the faster ever test match century, and thanking muslims for praying for him at the post-match interview. that too will be beautiful.

  • Andy Singh on September 30, 2007, 12:05 GMT

    Ashaq wrote: "So I fully support and respect our Captain, 100% bro. All those who hide behind the Garb and the Guise of Secularism to diseguise there Islamophobia be honest you have a hatred of Muslims. You want to participate in this Popular sport of Islamophobia." We dont have hate towards any religion... We pray everyday for your well being.

    Sohaib instead of making it a cricket match turned it into religious event along with other people.

    Zafar - Get your facts straight. The first pitch digging happened in Pakistan not but shiv sainiks.

    Once again you work with convoluted logic and half facts.

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on September 30, 2007, 11:55 GMT

    Guys pls put yr brakes. This is becoming a very bizzare thing, Malik made a mistake which was very rightly pointed out by Mukul. Let us all take it sportingly and thank Mukul for this, thats all....we should not go beyond that. Boxing, hockey, religion we may go on wasting time. I think we must try and dig out positives from this Pakistan - India match and be happy about it. Pakistan - India matches are the biggest crowd pullers and ICC should know about it. Gone are the days when the Ashes were the prime contest amongst the cricketing events. Now the 2 teams from the sub continent have changed the scenario. keeping this in mind I would like to suggest that Pakistan, Indian and Sri Lankan boards should sit together and launch a jointly sponsored tri nation Twenty20 and ODI series on neutral venues like Morrocco, Saudi Arabia, Brunie, Egypt, United States and Canada. I think we can promote cricket much better .....

    Rgds, pakigreen

  • UMAR KHAN on September 30, 2007, 11:53 GMT

    leave the comments of Malik it was not political statement.see how we played India and Pakistan, enjoy the game of cricket. i am sure he does not mean what you think about. Peace , chak de Asia. india got world cup and Pakistan got Misba ul haq. we are happy with result.

  • Sameer Ropani on September 30, 2007, 11:52 GMT

    By the way, about India's success in Twenty20 WC, we might want to look a little back in past. England vs. India, first test 2007, India on ropes with England needing one wicket, what happens. Rain pours, saves India's... neck. Dhoni gives last over to a chicken scared Yogi Sharma (who?) and Misbah's scoop lands as a catch. Again Luck! Yesterday, Australia thrashes Indian bowlers and gets Sachin out early after hoping around a little. What happens? Rain comes again to save India. Its not great team india, its great luck india!!

  • zafar on September 30, 2007, 11:26 GMT

    Some one talked about Faraz’s brain washing… my question is where does it come from… some one instantly popped up Lal Masjid… not sure in this blog or in Kamran abbasi’s pak spin blog…can’t you ask yourselves whatever happened to Babri Masjid was a total failure of a secular govt….or Gujrat Riots… ok then it was an extremist govt… so may be that is an excuse… And then Lal Masjid extremist were overcome by the security forces…. Coming back to cricket… extremists do live in Pakistan… it’s a fact that everyone accepts… but my question to all secular friends in India… Have these Pakistani extremists ever dared to dig a cricket pitch or even if they have, have they been successful??????? And then coming to shoaib malik, it is not easy to go on world stage and say every word in a standardized way… and he is not a spokesman or a debator by birth… & therefore this debate to me is simply rubbish… congrats to India for winning a major trophy after 1983… though they shared 1 champions trophy with Srilanka but it was only shared….

  • zafar on September 30, 2007, 11:25 GMT

    it’s a fact that Pakistan has won only once in a major tournament since 1992 against India and that was under the captaincy of a bearded man…& then with a weak team they won a 1-day series 4-2 and drew a test in series that too in India, under the captaincy of same bearded man… & then you associate religion with cricket matches results & cover it up with a humble word… or like Faraaz who also tries to link faith of success with religious faith … then I am afraid all of u live in a fool’s paradise… had religion every thing to do with whatever you achieve then there would have been no millionaire in Pakistan or for that matter in India… no doctor no engineer because he was Hindu or he was a Muslim!!!

  • zafar on September 30, 2007, 11:21 GMT

    And then reading my friends from India… first of all never ever dare to use again a word of “secular Muslim”… It’s just Muslim… there is no moderate Islam, no secular Islam… it’s just Islam…. Whatever the current terms modernism or secularism or extremism are being associated to the Muslims are just political terms…Islam contains secular contains modernism… some of the secular ideas were taught by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (the founder of Aligarh University) & he had a very long beard… and how you dared to talk about bearded players… I think u don’t have much information regarding those players… It was your captain Rahul Dravid(whom I respect as a player) who termed Inzi as the greatest ambassador…

  • zafar on September 30, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    I didn’t want to make this blog dirty by writing in religious or political material but as the article writer himself sparked this debate, and also by reading a comment from Faraaz and then the response from 1 or 2 Indian writers I consider it my duty to say a few words on that…. I think I should start from home and then go to the neighbor… First Faraaz what ever you have written seems to be a very narrow vision of thought… I think what you have written might be in context of Kashmir or some mishaps in India which were targeted at Muslims so that obviously doesn’t mean that every Muslim in India is oppressed… kali bhairain (black sheep) are every where… we also do have some in Pakistan but that doesn’t mean that whole hindu community here is in trouble…

  • ramgopal on September 30, 2007, 10:34 GMT

    It's tragic that the Anand, who is now the world champion in the most intellectual sport will get a muted reception while players who've won something minor in the most brain-dead sport in the world are treated as Gods. Says something about our brains doesn't it?

  • anand on September 30, 2007, 10:21 GMT

    all this talk of football makes me recall a disparaging article on this great sport by Mukul where he says "Rooney looks worryingly like a skinhead". He might look like a skinhead but he has more sporting ability than 5 Tendulkars and 5 Laras combined. I agree with Santhosh above that these so called cricket historians should refrain from talking about other sports when they don't even watch them, let alone play them

  • saqib on September 30, 2007, 9:33 GMT

    Can we all please grow up. We should all know that religion plays a strong part of our lives in Asia, whether Muslim, Hindu or Christian. He simply reflected that in his comments and meant nothing more. It does not imply anything towards Pakistani Hindus and Christians. As a Muslim his first inclination in his thinking is towards Islam. So let’s not read too much into it he is not a political figure where he calculates everything he says. If you have a problem with what he says just ask him and I am sure the clarification will be to everyone satisfaction. So please let’s grow up. Mr Mukul should know better, shame on you.

  • Sajid on September 30, 2007, 6:39 GMT

    Hi, I am from malik's town & may be know him better than all of you. I just want to apologies for his comments, which he said on final. I like if he him self-apologies it. I do not think so any race between religions only lake of knowledge. It is my first visit of this blog & I like its spirit.

  • Ashaq on September 30, 2007, 6:12 GMT

    Mr Andy, Sohaib did not say anything there is no one in the Pak team called Sohaib. Our Captains name is Shoaib And he said nothing wrong. The interpretation that Mukul Kesavan put on it was wrong.

    Those four Paragrphs you deny that where written (zilch, Nada) well if Mukul did not write them then it must have been U.f.O s right.

    So I fully support and respect our Captain, 100% bro. All those who hide behind the Garb and the Guise of Secularism to diseguise there Islamophobia be honest you have a hatred of Muslims. You want to participate in this Popular sport of Islamophobia.

    I could cite many examples The whole media circus with a stench of Islamophobia and Propaganda concerning the non-existent murder of Bob Woolmer, is a case in point.

    As for comments about Religion and Sport should not mix why sugar coat your comments why not be straightforward and say Islam and Sport should'nt mix.

    Afterall have you objected to the Numerous athletes in Basketball, Boxing,Baseball who Praise their Lord and Master Jesus Christ before eacxh game or contest, or who have Bible Study classes.

    So You wanna know where I am coming from well dude I come from a Boxing background.

    Let me tell you virtually every Boxer is very religious, We have numerous articles written that you find in virtually every issue of boxing magazines etc. about the devout Christian Boxer saved from a life of crime and drugs etc. By the Christian faith. Now that has never been a Problem perhaps the Most Vocal being Evander Holyfield consistently described by the Boxing Journalists as " Holy Warrior" "Christian Soldier", "Christian Crusader", Now that issue was never a problem for these Boxing Journalists.

    Until a British Arab boxer called Naseem Hamed came along and started praising Allah. suddenly the same Journalists started saying his remarks are inappropiate, religion and Sport should not mix. We had People writing in to the letters section of Boxing Magazines expressing outrage and also on Boxing forums religion and sport should not mix they complained.

    Well Guess what Naseem Hamed retires from Boxing and we have the same journalists, waxing lyrical about Ebo Elder, a Christian Boxer who shouts Christs loves you during fights or Antonio Tarver and Many, many others who where saved by religion from a life of drugs and crime etc.

    What these Journalists really meant was that Sport and Islam should not mix. It was never about Sport and religion.

    Those fans who where complaining about,Naseem Hamed, no longer complain at all about the articles and the religiosity of virtually every fighter (Boxers are generally a religious bunch). My objection is this is clear double standard, and Islamophobia.

    As far as religion and sport mixing it is well recognised and infact encouraged in the United States for athletes to mix religion and sport.

    Infact the most popular motivational book for Athletes in America is Norman vincent Peales, book the " Power Of Positive Thinking" which is A christian manual on motivational techniques.

    They say that 90% of sport is Mental to which I fully concur. Success and failure at the top is dependent on the Mental attitude, self discipline, and Self Confidence of the individual.

    Some athletes use Sport Psychologists, some use, yoga, Taichi, Nlp (Neuro Liguistic Programming) etc. To help them gain Mental Focus and discipline. Many others it is religion.Many coaches in Baseball, Basketball, boxing, Nfl etc. see it as a good thing it helps keep the Athlete away from vices and gets him to focus on his career.

    So if Shoaib Malik finds Solace and Motivation in religion I say it is more then good. Afterall whatever helps the guy perform Better is good what gives you or any other Indian the right to say he should not practice his religion....Yeah Danish Kaneria has also stated in Numerous interviews that he finds great Solace and motivation through his faith, and the Support of his Hindu fans check his blog on the net.

    ....

    So in the climate of such Islamophobia, naturally many Muslims are going to be sceptical about the Motivations of Mukul Kesavan in writing that article. .... So do I believe Shoaib was wrong no, I will never denounce Shoaib Malik for his religious convicitions, the man said nothing wrong infact it is Mukul Kesavan who jumped on the Islamophobia bandwagon who was wrong.

    If Kesavan did not have such motives He should clarify that he is not an Islamophobe ...so far he has fail;ed to do that, so I think this issue speaks for it self and the over reaction of his supporters.

    Afterall Shoaib Malim has clarified his remarks in the Media.

  • Andy Singh on September 30, 2007, 6:08 GMT

    Hasan:

    "ignoring an inane post match comment of little significance"

    These are not as simplistic comments as you make them out to be. Mushtaq also said the same exact words in 70's. Your hockey team also said this kind of stuff but nobody pays attention to that.

    "writing this if similar words had come from anybody else or in any other match. But in an India Vs Pakistan match there can be no sincere sentiments. can there?"

    Unfortunately these choice words are only reserved against India. Go figure.

    Once again is Sohaib a good man. Most definitely yes. What he said is correct - absolutely not.

  • Hasan on September 30, 2007, 5:59 GMT

    Andy Singh i am really impressed by your particular brand of altrusim. You do not want to disrespect or hurt anyone, you do not pray for any one side, and yet when it comes to ignoring an inane post match comment of little significance by a person who is a novice at both public speaking and the English language, you refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt. I dont think we would have been writing this if similar words had come from anybody else or in any other match. But in an India Vs Pakistan match there can be no sincere sentiments. can there?

    As many others have pointed out the one thing that can be said about shoaib is that he speaks with real sincerety, alas with little clarity. At times his comments sound inane, but remember he is still a novice at the art of diplomacy and rhetoric. I am sure within the next few years he will lapse into the same filmi brand of "i want to thank the huge and wonderful crowd" (even if it is a partisan mob or only 30 bored schoolchildren) of the "thank my cat and dog" variety. Until then it is refreshing to hear something sincere and unaffected.Yes there will be faux pas like this but i would prefer a bumbling human being to a preprogrammed automaton any day of the week.

  • Andy Singh on September 30, 2007, 5:51 GMT

    Imran wrote: HE HAS EVERY RIGHT TO DO SO, and its NOT YOUR BUSINESS to object. How dare you tell us what our rights are. You are no one to tell us our rights. We will critisize his wrong behavior as long as we want to. Dont press the cap locks because I can do the same.

  • Andy Singh on September 30, 2007, 5:34 GMT

    You are right sohaib does not need permission to say that. All we are saying is that he has injected religion in a simple cricket match and instead of cricket he has got religion involved in it. People like you always shout from roof tops not to involve politcs in sports but have no qualm about involving religion. All the stuff about this is month of Ramzaan and we will be victorious is all out of line. You want to discuss religion then there are other forums but cricket is not one.

  • Andy Singh on September 30, 2007, 5:22 GMT

    Good point Abdullah. Sohaib probably did not go to Oxford, he is still a very smart man and a great cricketer. If you saw his team they all gelled together and played like one. One could not see the factionalism that is so prevalent in Pak teams. No wonder they did great. It takes a very smart person to do that. More so it means what he said was what he meant, no slip of tongue.

  • Imran Rafique on September 30, 2007, 5:04 GMT

    Simply ridiculous. Time to face up to some facts:

    Aside from Pakistan, there are many cricket-following Muslims from around the world who DO follow the Pakistan cricket team. In LARGE numbers. From the UK, to South Africa, to yes - even India.

    If you don't like that - who cares? Everyone has a right to follow whatever team they like, for whatever reason they like.

    Again, I reiterate, it is SIMPLY A FACT that there are many many non-Pakistani Muslims who DO support the Pakistani cricket team. Including quite a few from India. Whether it is a majority of Indian Muslims or not, I dont know nor do I care. Whether other Indians like that or not - I dont care, and thats besides the point.

    So, if Shoaib wants to thank all those non-Pakistani Muslims who supported Pakistan, HE HAS EVERY RIGHT TO DO SO, and its NOT YOUR BUSINESS to object.

    It was a comment from the Pakistani captain, to supporters and well wishers of the Pakistani cricket team. He doesnt need your permission.

  • M. Khalid on September 30, 2007, 4:57 GMT

    Why this has been made a big issue, when we all deep inside our heart knows that it was a slip of tongue nothing else. OK, even if it was a slip of tongue, I don't believe he owes an apology. Why should he? This is the way, most religious people talk, and religion is a big part of sub-continent. Yes, it is different in Hindu majority India, where one can’t express his/her religion freely because they are feed the non-sense of you're Indian first than Muslim. Religion is the way of life, and it should be endorsed in every aspect of life. Whether you like it or not this is what we freedom is. And I’m pretty sure that you’re pro freedom. If one can talk.... about President in US, and don't get into trouble then why expressing one’s religion is a shame? I would really like you to answer this.

    Thanks Khalid.

  • Abdullah Alkafi on September 30, 2007, 3:45 GMT

    I am a huge cricket fan and a muslim from Bangladesh. I accept the logic of some of the comments here about Shoib's post final comments related to the muslim's of the world as a slip of the tougne or unintensional misquote. I think it is an issue but not a big one. But on the other hand captains of the national cricket teams specially of India and Pakistan are the biggest embassador of their respective countries and it is a great honour to be one. When the board selects a captain, besides cricketing and leadership abilities I think they should also consider a player's intelligence and ability how they project their teams and the people. It is not only Shoib's fault to say something like that but mostly of PCB's; because they know their player's strenghts and weaknesses that anyone else. If necessary they need to arrange behavioral coaching for their captain and players speacially after the circus' that have been going on the Pakistani team for the last year or so. Shoib is very good young player and will probably be asuccessful captain when eveything is said and done. But he should have known that there are probably more muslims in the world who do not have any interest in the game of cricket. This is a trend that is going on for sometime with the Pakistani players; any time they are in a post match ceremony Inzamam or other player will start by saying "I am greatful to Allah". You don't have to bring Allah or your religion to the cricket world; you are greatful just be greatful and perform your rituals priately - not infront of millions of people of different religion and culture who happen to be cricket fan. Yes, I agree that Shoib probably did not go to a boarding school or Oxford; neither did Wasim or Walker. They knew how to present themselves and their people to the public. PCB must arrange something to coach their players about public manners and ettiquette. These players are young and they may lack these education for whatever reason but they can always be taught. Because they are very motivated and smart people.

    Finally I want to reiterate that Shoib's comment was unintensional and what a dream finale it was.

  • Apoorv Sinha on September 30, 2007, 3:44 GMT

    We both bt Australia, and South Africa. And we played two games that lit up the entire tournament on their own. After the final, the one thought that any cricket lover from the subcontinent would have been left with is if only both our countries played together....

  • Andy Singh on September 30, 2007, 3:35 GMT

    Mr Ashaq - you have taken the art of spinning to next level. People like you never take responsibility for anything in life and always blame it on others. It is Mukul, It is the UFO's , It is the aliens from other galaxies. We are not discussing that. Our discussion is simple and down to earth - What sohaib said was right or wrong? can you answer that questions or your dog ate your homework once again.

  • Andy Singh on September 30, 2007, 3:12 GMT

    Mr. Bazal Hisquin - I have no right and I will never disrespect a fellow human being. OTOH some of the guys are justifying and ridiculing us. These comments are directed to all the close minded people. Sohaibs comments were being discussed and Mukul is being attacked. If you dont like the message shoot the messenger. In this case it is all about the message. I know religion plays a important part in your life and it should - but my plea is keep it out of sports. I totally disapprove of all the Pakistanis who pray for a victory. As I said before my prayers are for the welfare of all and no one is hurt in the game. I personally will not pray to a god that chooses sides and not considers everyone equal. Is this a novel concept or are people open minded about it.

  • Ashaq on September 30, 2007, 3:02 GMT

    Andy ease up like I said I fully agree theres too many of them U.F.O. out there doing hardcore programming.

    Yeah Hardcoded stuff is happening Man I fully agree, Shoaib was sending a secret hardcoded signal to people by saying, " I like to thank all the Fans backhome in Pakistan or where all the Muslim peoples live around the world."

    Yeah Man be careful...incase these hardcode programming infects you my dear fellow, from far of Galaxies they come and write articles on Blogs.

    Afterall Mukul Kesavan said nothing like you steated Zilch, Nada it was them U.F.O.s who wrote it.

  • Andy Singh on September 30, 2007, 2:42 GMT

    To all the Pakistan supporters who think it is ok for Sohaib thank all the muslims - then it is him who has inserted religion, not Mukul. When he singles out muslims for thanks than he takes the match from India Pakistan to Islam vs others. Seems like that is what you want. Not only you folks are programmed, you are hard coded also.

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on September 30, 2007, 1:24 GMT

    If we take the statement word by word then I would definitely agree with Mukul and it really was something which surprised me as well. Shoaib's comments were wrong, having said this I must also state here that most of the Pakistani players are not very good at English and may be Shoaib failed to construct a proper sentence to translate his sentiments. I am a Pakistani and a Muslim too, I have known Shoaib for a long time now and I am convinced that Shoaib may have faltered because of his weak English. He is a very simple type of a person, some one who would never say anything to harm others. Mr. Mukul I am grateful that you wrote about it and as a Pakistani and a lover of the game will accept it as a very constructive criticism. Shoaib must also read this and maybe it will help him in future, maybe he will think twice before he speaks next time. You have actually done a great service to Shoaib by pointing this out and I trust he will learn by this. I would also like to take this opportunity to inform every one that Shoaib is a very gentle guy and he simply cannot say such a thing on purpose. As for Mr Furqan....I think Mukul is right in pointing this out, because Shoaib did make a mistake and deserved being criticised, and I am sure Shoaib will learn from it and make ammends in future. So please dont get so excited about it. Instead we as lover of the game and Pakistanis must tender our appology to all who have felt hurt by our Skipper's remark. Rgds......pakigreen

  • Bazal Hisquin on September 30, 2007, 1:17 GMT

    Andy Singh, comments like "these are the results of hard programming in your minds" just show the misguided, self-formed opinions people have of Pakistanis, based on what they see and hear in a hostile media. People who are all too ready to believe the worst about other people and worst of all, stir further hatred and prejudice…basing their arguments against an entire people on the possible actions/words of a just a few. You should take into account what many, many other Pakistanis have been saying. Maybe if you did so, then you’d see that there is no such “programming” going on in Pakistan. And when you said “As far as saying that these were innocent comments - go take a hike”, I wanna know who gave you a right and made you so special to be able to dismiss peoples’ points in such a way? If people want to try and defend Shoaib, they have every right to do so. Don’t just dismiss them like they don’t matter. Maybe if you opened up your mind and ears a little bit and listen to all sides of the case, then you may not have such anti-Pakistani views. Perhaps your comments are the result of mind programming in which ever country you are!!?!

  • Zishan Iqbal on September 30, 2007, 1:14 GMT

    Mr Kesavan, I also want to take up the issue of your use of the word “loser”. When I read your article back, you seem to use this word to have a dig at Shoaib and the Pakistan team, saying they are “losers”. I wondered why this particular word was used when one could have said “runners up”, but then as I read the rest of your article it became so crystal clear….you were angry at what you had heard from Shoaib and instead of celebrating India’s success, you chose instead to take your anger out by writing your article. Your words should have been “runners up”. Not losers, as Pakistan were not the losers of this tournament…..far from it. In the end, they were the tournaments runners up, the second best. NOT LOSERS. How do you think this makes Pakistan fans feel, when you declare their team losers? This was a very childish play on words by you. And no, I wont give you the benefit of the doubt, why should I when you don’t give others that same privilege? You have shown yourself to be a childish trouble-maker, who really should know better….especially when you have all the time you need to proof read your comments!

  • Zishan Iqbal on September 30, 2007, 1:12 GMT

    Ive only just caught up on the fact that Shoaib's comment has caused such controversy! I simply believe that it was a slip of the tongue, especially when you see the comments he made after the New Zealand game (see Faraaz's post above). When you read those, even the blind should be able to see what Shoaib was meaning. People should give him a break....he's young, not got a qualification in English and more over has just lost a World Cup final! Think his mind was on other things people!!

    In fact, what worries me more is how quickly people have jumped on this bandwagon and tried to make an issue out of this to put down Shoaib and thus Pakistan and in a backhanded way, put down Muslims/Islam in general. These are the people who really are stirring tensions, but I guess they are not using their brains and thinking things through, just mindlessly jumping on a bandwagon.

    He is a nice guy and more over, in all the other matches before, NEVER SAID ANYTHING LIKE THIS. What he said was a mistake, his first one. He should be given the benefit of the doubt. If he does ever repeat it again, then YES - WE SHOULD HAVE THIS DEBATE and I will be the first to say he is wrong and that he should apologise. But in this case, I simply believe it was a slip of the tongue, from a guy whose thoughts were very obviously elsewhere and whose emotions were on a rollercoaster. Get over it people, stop stirring and just celebrate the great 2 weeks of cricket!

    And Mr Kesavan, by all means comment on this, but dont mix in your own speculation. Stick to just what you definitely know...with your questions, you painted a picture of a very racist, religionist even, Pakistan team. Do you know this for sure? SHOAIB MADE NO SUCH DECLARATION THAT YOU CLAIM HIS WORDS DO. Having met the team, I can assure you that they are very nice young men, who treat ALL that they meet with dignity and respect. You should know that people would jump on your comments, so you should have exercised some restraint with your speculation. The further comments were ONLY NEEDED IF THIS WAS A REPEAT OFFENCE. Shoaib said what he did in 2-3 seconds. Unlike you Mr Kesavan, he had no chance to proof read his comments and correct any mistakes.

    Also, for those people who say religion should be kept out of sport, how’s about when SreeSanth and Uttappa cross themselves whenever something goes their way? And when Irfan Pathan got his MOM award, he said “MasAllah” – which can be translated as a Muslim way of saying “thanks to Allah”. How come people don’t mind this, but seem to mind when a Pakistani says “thanks to Allah?” If a sportsperson is religious, they should be allowed to express their gratitude to God/Allah, whatever their religion is. It is their right to do so and the rest of us, whatever religion we are should learn to shut up and accept it……maybe even admire that people in this day and age still credit God with something!

  • Ganesh on September 29, 2007, 22:55 GMT

    i paid 1000 to watch the Aussies batter the Indian bowlers, Tendulkar dismissed for a duck and the match washed off by a light drizzle. No other sport is so ridiculous. I will never pay money to watch a cricket match again.

  • Next Man on September 29, 2007, 22:52 GMT

    Any rational person would have understood what exactly Shoib Malik meant. Mukul has taken it to a next level, seriously. I didn't even want to comment when I read Mukul's article because as a cricket columnists he could have easily "implied" what Malik actually meant.

  • Ibrahim on September 29, 2007, 22:16 GMT

    Andy Singh--at least we with "years of programming" don't change our first names from something like "Anand" to "Andy." Please--you are doing exactly what you accused Faraz of doing. This is a cricket blog, not somewhere to discuss political/social tensions. Faraz was justifying Malik's comments--and he did it quite well as far as Islamic brotherhood was concerned. I've never been to India, but I'm willing to bet that minorities' brainwashing happens no more there than in any other country--even in my country, for example, a non-Muslim is under pressure to adapt to his Muslim society. Please don't be such a finicky prig, with your little implications of, Oh no--he mentioned religion! All is chaos and the apocalypse is nigh and civilization is a-swamped.

  • Ibrahim on September 29, 2007, 22:06 GMT

    By the way, vikasrala and Faraz's comments hit the spot.

  • guru on September 29, 2007, 22:02 GMT

    Come on people, get a life , those of you who want to know what nationality is Mukul? well he is INDIAN and he also wrote an article regarding Dean Jones slip of the tongue for Hashim Amla, please read that article and accept the fact that Malik did a mistake and should say sorry EOM

  • Ibrahim Moiz on September 29, 2007, 22:01 GMT

    Nice and gentlemanly of both Furqan and Mr. Kesavan. As to Shoaib Malik's comments about Muslims--the poor bloke's been fasting for an entire series of hard-fought cricket, he's feeling sentimental and thankful to God--let him say the piece on Muslims, he's not exactly insulting non-Muslims, is he?

    By the way, give ROY a column--something in satire; smartly and hilariously written comment.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 29, 2007, 21:58 GMT

    To do those who say Mr Kesavan didnt have anything to do with the controversy.... u r right...he just wrote a 500-word thesis on a one-line statement from Shoaib Malik. As far as our "programming" goes, this is just a fabrication or ur media. It is you who has been "programmed" to believe whatever ur media tells u Dont you remember the Karachi ODI... Pakistan lost by 5 runs i think, but the whole crowd was giving the Indians a standing ovation. It is you have been programmed to find something negative to harp on about, to the extent that you forget to celebrate ur own victory... And we definitely dont have any problem with Kaneria saying "Jai Shri Ram" or any other statement to thank those he wishes to I refuse to believe that these are the thoughts of most Indians... I have seen the crowd of Chennai and how they gave a standing ovation to Saeed Anwar when he made the highest score in ODIs and then in the 1999 series test, when Pakistan won by a narrow margin. I tell all my Indian colleagues that i am a fan of the Chennai crowd.

  • Indian Fan on September 29, 2007, 21:33 GMT

    Classic case of making a mountain out of a molehill. Mukul, if you found Malik's comment in bad taste, then your mentioning Shahrukh Khan and Pathan was the pits.

  • Furqan on September 29, 2007, 20:57 GMT

    I must say, I was very surprised and rather grateful to see Mukul promote my previous comments in this way. I think it shows generosity and a concession that perhaps his previous post on the aftermath of the final was rather too negative, which should satisfy all of the other posters who also agreed with me on this. I hope that all of us posters can also come to agreement in such a way.

    Just to highlight to some of you that the first comment is only an extract of what I wrote - please see Mukul's previous blogs for the full comment, where I did say that Shoaib has actually apologised for what he said (and where I wrote in paragraphs - Akshay).

    Thanks to those of you who have left positive feedback, I'm rather embarrassed! All I really wanted to do was to forget the negativity and show my appreciation for excellent cricket.

  • Ismail Jani on September 29, 2007, 20:11 GMT

    RE: FARAZ "Another reason; generations of intimidation, indoctrination and brain-washing of nationalist and secular idealogy for the sake of putting the country together, has caused those Indian Muslims to be pseudo-nationalist. Muslims on their purist belief; don't go by the man-made flaky boundries to describe who is amongst us and who is not. They believe in the ideology of faith and universal Islamic brotherhood."

    And Faraz has been brainwashed from the time he was born.

    Dude this is not a forum to wash your religious linen.

    I don't think Malik made a mistake - it was not a slip of the tongue. He was being genuine and true to his upbringing.

    Just that Malik forgot, the reason why we chose to stay back in India is because we didn't agree with Jinnah's dreams.

    Did you see Irfan Pathan singing the National Anthem? That's what it takes.

    Did you see Afridi with hands on hips, shifting... when the Pakistani anthem was being played?

    Thanks Television, we have seen and heard the truth.

  • Nadeem on September 29, 2007, 18:53 GMT

    I am surprised how people take it upon themselves to dictate what passes or does not pass for acceptable sporting behaviour. Sport is inclusive in its very nature, but if one were to read some of the comments above, it would appear as if being a religious person is a civic sin, and against the very ethics of sport. The bigotry of these commentators is best exemplified in Satyajit's following words: "Those were the days of the clean shaven wasims and waqars. Then they grew their beards and began every sentence with "Thanks be to allah" .Since then their decline has been there for all to see. I'm not saying that religion makes one lose but it dosent make one win either". The commentator is obviously ill at ease with the clean shaved Pakistani players turning into bearded players, and goes on to link a perceived decline in Pakistan cricket with these beards before he says that religion does not win or lose games for a team. Just why is it that everyone thinks it their right to comment on how Muslim players begin their speeches rather than how they play, or how they dress rather than how they play. Why is it done for an Australian player to cross himself, or for a Sikh player to sport his turban and beard, but not for a Pakistani Muslim player to sport a beard, or thank Allah before his speech, or apologize to Muslim supporters for a loss? Surely, proponents of secularism must realize that such instances are not secular at all, but a depiction of Islamophobia which is all the rage these days.

    C'mmon people - if you think Shoaib was wrong in addressing his Muslim fans directly, it is time you looked at your own prejudices. He is a player and he played the game. If comment you must, comment on his game.

  • Khurram on September 29, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    What is wrong with Shoaib's comments?

    1) He thanks "Muslims", not Pakistanis, thereby implying that only muslims suppost the Pakistani team and not Pakistani Hindus, Christians, Parsis, etc. Last time I checked the teams were representing nations, not religions.

    I am very willing to give Shoaib a lot of leeway because his comments were impromptu and maybe it was just a slip of the tongue in a language he is uncomfortable with. What I do not understand is some of the comments on this blog which see nothing wrong or even odd about his comment.

  • KS on September 29, 2007, 18:28 GMT

    "I personally am not a great fan of the robotic Aussies or the sour South Africans but in the words of Andrew Symonds "I've been watching how India has been carrying on over the last few days".

    And I personally am tired by all the Aussie/Brits/whoever else "carrying on" and moaning about the Indian celebrations. Who died and made you the celebration police? What is this obsession with how other people choose to celebrate or telling others how much they should value something? Your cultures go overboard about things we might find ridiculous and silly. Did the Indian celebrations inconvenience you in any way? Did the traffic jams in Mumbai affect traffic in London and Sydney or Johannesburg? Did the BCCI/Indian govt. steal your lunch money to reward the players?

    Why don't you just accept that each culture celebrates in its own way. Just because you devalue something doesn't mean others should. If in India celebrations go overboard, so does the criticism/danger to the players. I wonder how Symonds would deal with the other side of the coin - the effigy burnings, the stoning of houses? Would he rush off and kill a boar with his bare hands, as one Australian newspaper claims he does? Would he even have half the grace/humility and fortitude to deal with that kind of ridiculous pressure? Given his rather churlish reaction to the innocuous sight of Indians dancing on the top of a bus, I don't think so:) I mean if that unsettled and annoyed him, how would he deal with even greater sources of stress and angst:)

    And I find it funny that the Aussies/Brits are telling Indians they are over-celebrating for an insignificant world cup, when the likes of Symonds seem to be over-reacting to losing to India and losing that very same "insignificant" world cup by spouting about how much the loss and the celebrations are sparking the "animal instinct" in him. And the Aussie media talking about how "wounded" and "hurt" and "envious" the Aussies are after losing and seeing someone else get the limelight for once. So if it's not such an important tournament or cup to win, why are the Aussies reacting with these types of excessive/over-the-top/carrying on statements? Symonds so much as said he felt as if something had been "taken away" from the Aussies. So apparently the Twenty20 Cup is worth enough to them for them to feel a tad annoyed about not winning.

    Why is India not allowed to express its passion, however misplaced you think it is, for the Twenty20 win, and the Aussies are within their rights to express their passion at losing and how much it spurs them to defeat India in the ODI series, and Symonds is allowed to be a somewhat graceless guest acting as if someone stole a toy from the Aussie team? There was too much of a sense of arrogant entitlement in his comments, which is funny given that he said the Aussies are far more humble in victory than the Indians. Is it really a sign of humility to point out how humble you are compared to others? I'd rather the Indian players dance on a bus in front of millions of fans instead of boasting about how much more humble they are than others. And if the Aussies are "humble" in victory, at least one or two of them don't seem to be that humble in defeat;)

    It seems those who claim that the Twenty20 win doesn't mean much and is being over-celebrated sure are paying a lot of attention to what Indians are saying and what they are doing. No one is forcing you to watch the images or read anything about it, yet you apparently are. The best way you could show that it means nothing to you would be to ignore it.

  • NRP on September 29, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    21st century but same old mentality …………………..This is so called Incredible India

  • inqlabi on September 29, 2007, 18:13 GMT

    Mukul is biased and jaundiced

  • satyajit on September 29, 2007, 17:42 GMT

    Dinesh ,yes that would be the best!! Splitting my sides even thinking about that one. Picture this:Danish(denish) kaneria gets a fiver in the first test

    Danish Kaneria: Jay Shri Ram .First of all I would like to thank all the Hindus back home in Pakistan and where they lives all over the world.

    Beat that

  • Ashaq on September 29, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    Andy Singh I full agree Kesavan did not say anything zilch Nada all he did was produce the sentence of our Captain, " I want to thank you back home in pakistan and where Muslims peoples live around the world."

    The Four Paragraphs after that where not written by Mukul at all infact it was U.F.O. from outer space. Who have Programmed this blog.

    Yeah too much Programming going on....where these Aliens who wrote those Paragraphs from Jupiter or Mars I wonder????

  • JamJam on September 29, 2007, 17:39 GMT

    "I'm shocked that know body raised the point that I'm about to raise. If an Australian, Pakistani, Indian or whoever captain can thank their fellow country-men then whats the harm in thanking the people of one's faith?"

    Faraz, what planet are you from? On Earth, Cricket is played between nations, as in India, Pakistan, not between religions as in Hinudism, Islam. So, on the global stage, you would see a match between India and Pakistan, not between Hindus and Muslims. So, in reality it is really embarassingly stupid to think that it is ok to thank religions, the same way you thank your nations, and to feel shocked that others cudnt think that way ...stupid.

    NOw was your reasoning a slip of the tongue like Shoaib Malik's slip of the tongue comments?

  • Safa on September 29, 2007, 17:38 GMT

    Excellent feedback from Furqan! YEs i think many journalist misquoted malik and made him look like the bad guy and we were upset by this. Because sometimes things can be unintentionally said and sometimes they have a much better meaning than what others take. I hope people will stop jumping on other's personal beleifs and faults. Live and Let Live.

  • Waqar on September 29, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    Thanx to Malik for such comments, And thanks to all muslims who supported and are supporting his comment,, YEAH ,'now watt'' Its a universal fact that most of the ppl who dont like Pak Cricket team is becoz of Religeon, If he did that intentionally,, hatts off to him. If that was mistaken,Nature speaks truth. I wish every Pakistan player to speak up boldly.

  • rama on September 29, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    Give it a rest, people! Clearly Shoaib isn't as eloquent in the 'Queen's English' as some. Pakistanis have recognised their faith in post match comments for years now. He must be a proud Muslim and that probably motivates him on the pitch. Good on him. What's the fuss? Let's celebrate a wonderful match and great final. I sometimes think of india-pakistan sporting contests as the only tangible benefit of the viceroy cutting india up as if it were an orange...

  • PJ on September 29, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    Suppose Dhoni had said after the match, "Thanks to all the Hindus around the world," or Ponting had said after their ODI World Cup win, "Thanks to all the Christians around the world." Imagine what a ruckus that would have caused. Just because it's Pakistan, we're supposed to say, "oh, let's restrict our conversation to only cricket." Rubbish. It's about time Muslims/Pakistan are held to the same standards as everyone else. See guys, this is international cricket, not a village game. Admittedly, Shoaib almost certainly didn't mean any harm or ill-will. But the Pakistan board needs to apologise and train every future captain in these things (and likewise, Aussies need to get training about racism - remember Darren Lehmman's remarks about a Sri Lanka player). All country captains need to undergo some sort of training, so they don't make these mistakes. And I agree that interviews with captains MUST be held in the language the captain is most comfortable with, and have an interpreter.

  • rama on September 29, 2007, 17:17 GMT

    Wow that was brilliant.

  • deepak nadaf on September 29, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    good farhan, people should always try to build rather than break, i think one should understand that, in common we are all human beings, and that is our religion, there may be lot of indifferences between us, but finally we should atleast try to give a chance to urself to say a hi or hello to him or her.

  • Andy Singh on September 29, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    It will be OK for Dinesh to say Jai Shri Ram after every game. It will not be OK for him to say that he thanks all his Hindu brothers across the world for praying for him. I know Hindus in India would rather have Irfan have a good day than Dinesh.

  • Raghu on September 29, 2007, 17:00 GMT

    My compliments to Furquan. Here is a true cricket fan. I agree it was a brilliant game. I also remember a similar occasion when the roles were reversed. It was in the Chennai test in 1997, when Tendulkar, battling a bad back, took us within sight of a tremendous victory against Akram's team, till Saqlain snatched victory for Pakistan. I remember, that match moved me to tears - for India losing the match - and for the unforgettable sight of watching the Chennai crowd, after a moment of stunned silence where you could hear the cries of joy in the field as the Pakistani team rejoiced, followed with a standing ovation, as the Pakistani team did a lap of honour. This time too, I had tears in my eyes - of joy for India's win and of sorrow for Misbah's plight. I hope cricket unites our two countries. For me, its always Pakistan that I support, if they're not playing India, that is!

  • dinesh on September 29, 2007, 16:56 GMT

    Assume it would be ok for dinesh kinera to say "Jai Shri Ram" after every game during the interviews.

  • Andy Singh on September 29, 2007, 16:28 GMT

    Once again all the Pakistan supporters instead of admitting that Sohaib was wrong have started attacking Mukul. Mukul has nothing to do with this controversy - he said nothing, zilch nada. He just repeated the comments of your skipper and you guys are hissed off. The point is simple - did he say something wrong or not? The answer is yes or no and Mukul is no one in this discussion - he just reproduced these comments. As far as saying that these were innocent comments - go take a hike. These are the results of hard programming in your minds. I can still vividly remember Mushtaq the capt of Pakistan side saying something similar in 70's when they beat Bedi's team. This is not slip of the tongue.

  • boom boom afridi on September 29, 2007, 16:01 GMT

    to mr get a life - you see no irony in the fact that you yourself are wasting time reading ppl's comments and are even contributing to the debate by adding your own posting? do you even know what irony is? don't you have something else to do? :)

    but i take your point about our fast bowlers - we can only dream of having a bowler as fierce and as fast and as skillful as joggy sharma!!

  • faisal on September 29, 2007, 15:48 GMT

    there is no doubt that malik clearly exceeded the limit by his "foolish" comment ,there can be many reasons for that poor knowledge of english ,heat of the moment etc.but even more surprising is the way in which this has been blown out of proportion by the media. i personally think that malik should have apologised to all his supporters from india ,pakistan,england and anywhere around the world and not just muslims .because personally i know my fellow indian hindus who support pakistan for their never say die attitude

  • Get a Life on September 29, 2007, 15:35 GMT

    Folks don't you have something else to do ...than write about this "comment".Get a life will you *lol*

    Now how about Pakistan Team selection ? No batsmen no fast bowlers ..whats up with that ? Only spinners , slow medium pacers and half assed batsmen ..thast not a test team!!!

  • boom boom afridi on September 29, 2007, 15:32 GMT

    faraaz is right - for all those indian fans who were shocked by malik's comment, and for those pakistanis like furqan who said it left a bad taste in his mouth - please have a look at the post match interview of malik against new zealand: he clearly thanks pakistanis settled around the world (a lovely sentiment). he had a slight slip of the tongue in the final, which has led to endless debate and conjecture.

    as for andy singh - for heaven's sake - "years of programming"? you know nothing about pakistan other than the nationalistic diatribe that you've clearly been exposed to on your television channels. i don't remember a pakistani team being treated as well in india as the indian team was in pakistan in 2004 (with the exception of the sporting madras crowd).

    i'm looking forward to the series in november - let's get back to test cricket!!

    ps anthony - the heart and the soul of cricket lies in the subcontinent, you just have to accept that. the english love their football, south africans love their rugby, and aussies love all sports equally. but in the subcontinent we are only in love with cricket.

  • Ash Zed - Saudi Arabia on September 29, 2007, 15:28 GMT

    What is your nationality/origin Mukul Kesavan? Do let me know and then it would be very easy to jump to any conclusion why you write about those issues that are insignificant. Please email me....

  • Ganesh on September 29, 2007, 14:29 GMT

    While Malik's comments were uncalled for, be it slip of the tongue or intentional, one should have sense when they make such comments. As someone pointed out, it came as a natural as a result of years of programming was quite a logical explanation. However the most ridiculus of all the comments have been made by Faraz..I think you should take a tour of India and see it first hand and meet your muslim brothers to realise how well they are taken care of to follow your religion. upto the extent that muslims are given haj subsidies, reservations in educational institutions etc. they are many more such examples, but this is not the place to discuss this, this is a blog for cricket and let's not discuss national issues here.. time to move on.... Grow up buddy!

  • Ahmad on September 29, 2007, 14:11 GMT

    Mukul & Others, I was really amazed when I read your original (first) blog about Shoaib Malik. I remember hearing the similar words from other Pakistani players as well in the past - some man of the match winners. I silently attributed it to their poor English. But so what, its not their language. Why this issue was raised so much especially in Indian media. Oh, I forgot, they need TRPs and anything that can be shown on TV in 24x7 world of media.

  • Hasan on September 29, 2007, 14:09 GMT

    Mukul,i can see two possibilities here, the first which seems more plausible is that you have seriously misconstrued an essentially innocuous statement. As for the other, more unsavory conclusion, being a regular reader i dont even want to think about it.

    What i can say with surety is that this time you have gotten it all wrong. What Shoaib said was not intended to exclude or irk anyone. It was just another linguistic gem of the "yeaaaaaa, boays did well" variety that all Pakistani cricketers use quite regularly.

    What i fail to understand is why they insist on using English, when it invariably results in interviews devoid of substance, if not totally incomprehensible. In my opinion the medium of communication is irrelevant as long as there is some substance to what is being said. If a speaker keeps babbling the same, incoherent and meaningless statement to each question he is asked then there is little point in holding an interview or press conference. It can only lead to confusions like this.

    In the end, however, interviews are mere formalities, what matters is doing well on the field. Yes they are supposed to be professionals (which sadly they are not) , but knowing English or even being articulate in interviews has little to do with it, most people dont care if they dot their i's and cross their t's (now crucify me for using that in the wrong context) as long as they keep hitting them out of the park.And as for those feeling embarrassed or irritated by their inadequacies,and especially those who have all but called for Shoaib's head and vice versa,i can only say, get a life. or find some other more relevant forum to vent sentiments that have nothing to do with sports.

    @andy singh "Sure he did not say that after other games but the game against India for some of the Pakistanis is a war" it was the final, just wanted to wrap it up. saying it just once caused such furore, imagine what would have happened if he had said it after each game.

    "result of years of programming" sorry i think its more a matter of all of us subcontinentals being programmed to smell something rotten in everything to do with India Vs Pakistan.

    Finally, i truly hope that you are right in thinking that our cricketers are capable of such magically circuitous prayers and such machiavellian premeditation, all in the guise of bad english. alas had this been true things might have been a lot different, beacuse in that case i dont think Misbah would have blown a fuse and Afridi would surely not have been his usual brainless self.

    In the end its doesnt matter one bit, its all over, it was really enjoyable while it lasted, India played like champions and won fair and square, who cares what happened later.

  • Ali on September 29, 2007, 13:47 GMT

    Well done Furqan...that was a very well written and witty piece of work and I completely agree with you. I am surprised that narrow-minded people like Mukul are writing officially for Cricinfo (Maybe that is his only claim to fame). Discarding the success of a wonderful tournament in favour of some casual/immature comment is extremely unprofessional and shows his lack of vision.

  • ranjeet on September 29, 2007, 13:23 GMT

    Well.... seems like a lot of people on this board have an attutude of "well he was wrong to state this BUT we are wrong to criticise him"..... which is contradictory. Face it....if dhoni had said " thanks to all the hindus" would it not have created a storm.....then why the double standards ?

  • mukul's conscience on September 29, 2007, 13:18 GMT

    Mukul come on! I know our column wasn't really successful and we weren't attracting a lot of visitors, but hasn't this publicity stunt gone a little out of hand?

  • S Prakash on September 29, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    I thought Malik's comment was strange but definitely not in the 'bad taste' category. Religion plays a big part in some Pakistani cricketers' lives, and to thank muslims around the world can be construed as, 'I thank all the Pakistani supporters wehere ever they may be (most of whom are muslims) and any other muslim group rooting for us, like the Bangladeshis. Like Inzimam-ul-haq, Malik too is a simple man who speaks from the heart. That's better than rehearsed and politically correct speeches which all sound alike.

  • Akshay on September 29, 2007, 13:06 GMT

    Farqan, my man, interesting opinion expressed there, but... the enter key? Please learn to use it! Paragraphs is where the action is. Trust me on this one.

    ;-)

  • Farhan on September 29, 2007, 12:59 GMT

    Well, what else do you expect from Mukul?. I mean just for a second stop and go back, read all of his previous articles. You will find one thing common that he loves bashing Pakistan with an absolute passion and almost crosses all the boundaries related to the game by bringing in the personal factors.His articles have always been little less then technical but more about the Pakistani cricketers personalities, their faiths and flaws.Come on guys, even a completly neurtral person can see that. By being completly honest and if we take the Indian-Pakistan factor out of it i would still be confident enough to say that the guy just loves to hate Pakistan and in my opinion has the venom in his heart against Pakistan to such an extent that i do not have any hesitation in saying that he is almost at the same level as any other extremeist of any faith in the world. The difference is that he uses his pen instead of a sword. He knows that his fan base adores such articles and more importantly 'Cricinfo' itself is not far from being unbiased.

    I am a die hard fan of cricket and unfortunately do not have any other option then 'Cricinfo' to follow the game. Though i must admit its a fairly decent site and i enjoy reading bloggs and articles apart from 'Men in white'.His articles alone can spoil one's mood and leave a bad taste in the mouth. Why does he do it? Can't he just write about cricket and have a heart big enough to appreciate the positives of the game. Can you imagine that team India for the first time had a victory of this level since 1983 and instead of celebrating the victory he has his mind set on the speech of Pakistan's captain. My God! Even 'The Times of India' had this as their head line news!!

    India and Pakistan are not at war any more! This is the 21st century and its time to move on rather then have spreading that stinking attitude towards each other. Cant we just give some space and respect to each other for what they are and move on like mature nations. I live in England and admire the fact that how English and French or England and Australia or England and Scotland or even England and Ireland treat each other. They have fought wars for centuries against the French but history is history and they have moved on.

    I live in a society which is multicultural and people from China, Nigeria, India , Pakistan etc live together with peace and harmony. I infact watched the final of 2020 with my Pakistani and Indian Friends. We were all sitiing together and had the best time in recent years. At the end of the match i congratulated them whole heartedly and we all went out for a dinner. The best part is that they understood how we felt and we understood how they felt and respected that. Lets see when will Mukul change his attitude or will he ever? Is this a dilemna of that generation which has seen the two nations at war and transfers the virus to the next generation!Please STOP IT!

  • Andy Singh on September 29, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    So if I understand correctly that the god you pray to will choose side and help Pakistan over India? He will deny Irfan and Yusuf a victory. I will say a very stone age way of thinking is what you have. Leave Mukul alone as he had the courage to point out what was wrong.

  • Andy Singh on September 29, 2007, 12:08 GMT

    First congratulations to Pakistan for playing a gr8 game. Second - This was not a problem of poor english or slip of tongue. This was a result of years of programming...Sure he did not say that after other games but the game against India for some of the Pakistanis is a war. I also pray before a game but never for victory because god as I know it has no time to choose between all his children. I only pray that it is a clean game and no one gets hurt. Malik was wrong and he needs to admit it. Everything cannot be attributed to bad english.

  • AQ Azhar on September 29, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    I think at the moment Mr. Mukul is content and Idea less and stuck in to one point. Instead of highlighting great and exciting things of 20-20 he is just writing on the comments of Shoaib which I guess are not that worthy than the tournament and cricket played in a spirit. The comments were un-intentional and he thanked Muslims for praying them.

    I hope he will bring something better to read instead of proving Paki Captian an awkward.

  • Ashaq on September 29, 2007, 11:25 GMT

    Also if disagreement can be expressed firmly and civilly as you have stated, perhaps you can explain your lack of civility, in expressing your views?

    There is no civilitty in stirring up hatred or making useless inflammatory remarks is there old chap?

    No civility at all my dear old fellow?

  • AShaq on September 29, 2007, 11:16 GMT

    Kesavan dear old chap, perhaps you could explain why you is not allowing comments that are critical of your remarks?

    If you is inciting people with your inflammatory remarks and encouraging come here and make baseless attacks on Shoaib Malik, how about showing some spine and allowing people to critical of yourself or do you consider yourself to be above criticism?

  • Ali Majid on September 29, 2007, 11:04 GMT

    I fail to understand what was so wrong with Malik's comments. What is so wrong with thanking people that have been involved in reliogious activity in the holy month of Ramadan. Again I see this as a prime example of "anything pro muslims" or anything that mentions muslims is met by severe disdain and ridicule by the world. He is a good captain and a better player and "INSHA ALLAH" will lead the team to be a great one. There....I said "INSHA ALLAH"....let the negative comments against me begin. Why people have been focussing on this is a mystery to me.

  • sky_unlimited on September 29, 2007, 10:59 GMT

    To Faraz...

    This is a place to discuss cricket and not anything else..But I would like to reply some of your comments...

    1.You have written that.."As far as Indian Muslims, lets admit those people live in a majority Hindu environment, they are not a strong social, economical or political force; and above all, they have been whipped into believing that you should be loyal to the country where they live. Their homes, jobs, eduction, families, etc is all inside India, taking a stand a against Indian team threatens their security and well being."...Well,my brother...do you know how many muslims are living in India?Probably more than any single country in the world...How can you forget India's last president-Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam..He is a muslim and he is very very respected in India...Before that our two presidents were Muslim...We had film stars like Salman,Shahrukh,Aamir,Fardeen,Zayed and I like all of them for various reasons..Before that Dilipkumar-Yousuf sab,Meenakumari..There are muslims on very important places..Not to forget in Army,Airforce and Navy..I have many Muslim friends who are all doctors..Don't forget all these things before making those type of comments...

    2. You also wrote this:"generations of intimidation, indoctrination and brain-washing of nationalist and secular idealogy for the sake of putting the country together, has caused those Indian Muslims to be pseudo-nationalist." If you are feeling they are so intimidated in India,then how come two brothers(Irfan and Yusuf Pathan) from the home of a pious Muslim from a very humble family get into Indian cricket team?And we all are taught the same things about secularism..It wasn't like that people from any specific religion are being hammered or brain-washed...

    Just that...just enjoy cricket and please refrain from making such comments...

  • Omar Ansari on September 29, 2007, 10:57 GMT

    Well said vikaskalra, when i first read Kesevans post the first thought that went accross my head was "This is going to be blown out of proportion"

    And I wasn't wrong, as i scrolled down and read the comments; I couldn't believe how many people were bursting with anger. Sure Malik shouldn't have said what he said, but does it really matter? He provided us with an excellent game of cricket and thats what we should thank him for. We can't say he meant/didn't mean what he said, only he knows what was going through his but I think it would be better to give him the benefit of the doubt considering he has just taken up the English language and conquering its learning curve will take some time. Lets just bury this and look forward to the forthcoming games shall we?

  • satyajit on September 29, 2007, 10:29 GMT

    Reading Faraz's exposition on "Islamic Brotherhood" and "Indian muslims being whipped into patriotism" , one can only smile. And thank our stars for being born in India. It is not tough to see who is getting brainwashed here.

    And to all those going on about Malik's first language not being English all I'd like to know is in which langauage exactly are "Muslim" and "Pakistani" synonymous.

    I used to like the Pakistani team too. Way back in the mid to late ninties they played with flair and great skill.Those were the days of the clean shaven wasims and waqars. Then they grew their beards and began every sentence with "Thanks be to allah" .Since then their decline has been there for all to see. I'm not saying that religion makes one lose but it dosent make one win either. So all the Faraz's of the world, religion is good and public displays of it acceptable but it surely dosen't seperate the losers from the rest. And maybe ask yourself who exactly won the supposed "Holy war" as Moin Khan once called a harmles match once!!

  • Jeet on September 29, 2007, 10:23 GMT

    Faraz dude........what planet are you on....in your long winded comment you say "As far as Indian Muslims, lets admit those people live in a majority Hindu environment, they are not a strong social, economical or political force; and above all, they have been whipped into believing that you should be loyal to the country where they live. Their homes, jobs, eduction, families, etc is all inside India, taking a stand a against Indian team threatens their security and well being. They are afraid they won't feel accepted in the society and won't be given equal rights" it is comments from people like you & views of people like you that cause half the problems between religions!

  • Sameer Ropani on September 29, 2007, 10:14 GMT

    Well done Furqan, you easily out-did Mukul. I thought Mukul's and not Malik's comments were in REALLY bad taste. Thanks for putting him right!

  • agnihothra on September 29, 2007, 10:08 GMT

    To anthony, What is the problem with a big celebration? Symonds pontificates now about being humble but he was nothing but humble when he got his first test hundred.He leapt at Matthew Hayden and had him in a clinch.He celebrated so because he was struggling to keep his place in Aussie Test squad.He can afford to be 'humble' when the win doesnt mean too much... but when there is some thing at stake that you really care for then you celebrate well when you get it...

  • Umar on September 29, 2007, 9:32 GMT

    Lets not forget English is not Maliks first luanguage, and why do they speak english in Pakistan v India matches any way????

    Umar

  • Faraz on September 29, 2007, 9:22 GMT

    I'm shocked that know body raised the point that I'm about to raise. If an Australian, Pakistani, Indian or whoever captain can thank their fellow country-men then whats the harm in thanking the people of one's faith? Yes, there are Muslims who are not necessarily in support of Pakistani team, but there are Indians in other parts of the world who support Pakistani team. I personally know an Indian couple who are supportive of Pakistani team because in their opinion Pakistanis play with flair and fire, and with lion's heart. There are many Indians whose spouse are Pakistani and they both support Pakistani team; there are Indians who are fan of Pakistani players and therefore they like to favor them; sometimes there are family ties, etc, etc. Does that mean Dhoni cannot thank all the Indians in his post match speech?

    As far as Indian Muslims, lets admit those people live in a majority Hindu environment, they are not a strong social, economical or political force; and above all, they have been whipped into believing that you should be loyal to the country where they live. Their homes, jobs, eduction, families, etc is all inside India, taking a stand a against Indian team threatens their security and well being. They are afraid they won't feel accepted in the society and won't be given equal rights.

    Another reason; generations of intimidation, indoctrination and brain-washing of nationalist and secular idealogy for the sake of putting the country together, has caused those Indian Muslims to be pseudo-nationalist. Muslims on their purist belief; don't go by the man-made flaky boundries to describe who is amongst us and who is not. They believe in the ideology of faith and universal Islamic brotherhood.

    Shoaib is a Muslim before he is a Pakistani or a cricketer. One would argue that lets keep religion out of cricket. However a Muslim believes that faith is a way of life; not an hour exercise in the church, temple, mosque or a synagogue. If keeping faith out of cricket is the slogan, then why don't we ask all the nations in the world to keep religion out of politics? Why not ask them to keep religion out of streets (no burqa, beard, turban, etc) or public property? Why not ask them to keep religion out of love between a man and a woman? We all in the sub-continent know very well, religion plays an important role in our society, in our culture, in our food, in our dress, in our tradition; cricket being a fibre of our society; why an exception here?

    If Shoaib thanked all the Muslims in the world, those Muslims who were not supporting Pakitani team, they didn't have to accept his thanks anyways. Why is it such a pain?

    In the end, I personally believe, it was just a slip out of the tongue more than anything else. English is his third language, after Punjabi and Urdu. He was on world stage after a nerve wrecking final and hard-core T20 tournament; give him a break! If I were him, to be politically correct, I wouldn't say so; but had I said it, I had nothing to apologize for either.

  • Masum Dad Khan on September 29, 2007, 8:45 GMT

    After the world cup debacle in West Indies,The Pakistan media manager Parvez Mir expressed his concern about the overdose of religion in Pakistan cricket team. His concern is not unfounded and we have seen a proof of that in Malik's comment. Mixing up sports with religion is wrong. I am not a Pakistani but i support Pakistan cricket team since my chilhood not because they are muslims like me but because of the flair in their game. There are many Muslims who support the Indian cricket team and there are many Non-Muslims who support the Pakistan cricket team. He should have thanked the Pakistan cricket fans all over the world not the followers of a particular religion. Possibly he has denied his Non-Muslim coach his due share. Dear shoaib malik , please refrain from doing so in the future.

    Masum Dad Khan

  • Indian on September 29, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    I think people should communicate in the language they are most comfortable with. I think the commentators should take care of putting the questions in the players mother tongue. Rameez Raja should have asked Malik the question in Urdu. I am sure Shoaib would have made more sense then. Imagine asking Ricky Ponting a question in Hindi or Urdu!!!

  • Andy on September 29, 2007, 8:41 GMT

    Anthony. What is wrong with celebration ? Whether is over the top and under the mountain why do you bother or why should Symonds bother ? It was a chance to celebrate and Indians did the most. Your comments are ridiculous.

  • Sanjay Vydianath on September 29, 2007, 8:36 GMT

    Give Furqan a column. I , a South Indian brahmin by birth ,would like a secular Muslim like him to be heard all over the world. There are many more like hime I have come across but the world does not seem to see them or read them. Instead they concentrate on the negative and perhaps thoughtless remarks of Shoaib. Mukul erred in concentrating on that negative but by jove Furqan has remedied it.

  • A V Koshy on September 29, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    I dont know whether I read Kesavan's article. But Furqan's article was pure ecstasy. As a person who enjoys the written word, for the sheer beauty of the image that the written word can conjure up, Furqan's exposition was marvellous. Having seen the final over and having had palpitations like it was nobody's business, Furqan's commentary was, unbelievable, like my soul's experience in prose. Great going Furqan, you have a great future.

  • vikaskalra on September 29, 2007, 8:20 GMT

    In response to Anthony and Andrew Symonds: Please do not feel jealous of the players who have won. A few months back in March they were returning under police cover, their houses were vandalized, their effigies burnt, their contracts were under the scanner, etc. I am sure Mr Symonds and the team would not have been subject to any of this after playing supremely average cricket in T20 and loosing handsomely.

    In Australia - muted criticism - muted celebrations In India / Pakistan Over the top criticism - over the top celebrations

    Don't grudge what others get, just play.

    One aspect that no body points out in the Shoaib debate is that invoking the name of God /Allah / Muslim brotherhood is a part of language for most Muslims (in the subcontinent). Even Irfan said “Mashallah” to begin his statement. They do not pretend to be pious Muslims in front of the camera. It comes naturally to them. In most other religions it is not so obvious. This aspect coupled with a final loss, problem with the language, the pressure of backlash at home and a new captain could have induced this comment. Let us get over it now.

    Time to rub Australian and South African noses in dirt once again. Choke them.

  • Roy on September 29, 2007, 8:19 GMT

    Imagine the temerity of Malik! We know he did not go to a boarding school as this author did and perhaps there were no fathers teaching him Queen's english or how to dot his i's and cross his t's with occasional gentle reproachments, scenes that are sure to be fondly remembered by Mr Kesavan's ilk but praise the Lord, the ignorant, 'crass' mouthings of the unwashed riff-raff elements like the Maliks of the world have not gone unpunished and quite rightly, earned severe reprimands as Mr. Kesavan sombrely reminds us of our grave gentlemanly responsibilities with that serious, scholarly look from beyond his spectacles. Thanks for the small mercies...

  • Asim Khan - Riyadh on September 29, 2007, 7:59 GMT

    I dont see anything wrong with Shoaib's statement as Omer Admani pointed it out.

    But anyway it was a pleasure to see both the finalists were from the subcontinent. If I remember correctly since 1992 in all the finals of the worldcup there has been atleast one team from the subcontinent which shows we really are a powerhouse in this sports unlike other countries.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 29, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    Nice work Furqan... I agree with every word Mr Kesavan... how about we move on and talk about something else ? Like India vs Australia...

    It is quite surprising that Shoaib's comments (which i believe were unintentional) are getting more coverage than India's triumph.

  • srivathsan on September 29, 2007, 6:44 GMT

    There is no point in arguing over the same issue again & again.Let us accept that it was just a slip of the tongue & he did not really mean it unless he repeats it again which may not be the case.Mukul, had you mentioned the above aspect, I think there would not have been so much unwanted arguments for or against.At least now let put a stop to it.As regards Furqan,an excellent flow of language & very aptly put across.THE BEST PART IS ,AS FURQAN,PUTS IT INDIA & PAKISTAN BET ALL THE BEST SIDES WITHOUT ANY EXCEPTION.LET US ENJOY THAT.

  • Faraaz on September 29, 2007, 6:43 GMT

    In response to Anthony:

    Of course its "only a 20-20" to the teams who faired poorly, but I guarantee there would have been celebrations regardless of who won. To understand the reason this final has caused the amount of joy in the subcontinent that it has, you must look at the context.

    For example, as a Pakistan fan watching Pakistan cricket for the past year, I saw one awful event after another (the Oval, the ODI World Cup, Bob Woolmer, Shoaib Akthar, Inzy leaving, Younis' captaincy indecision, etc). Now for the first time it looks like Pakistan is playing sensibly and cohesively and the 20-20 game provides a stepping stone for the larger forms of the game and Pakistan is celebrating the potential success that is emerging in the form of a new captain, fresh bowlers, and sharper fielding. Obviously if Australia had won, they wouldn't have celebrated because they haven't experienced the troubles that Pakistan has or own a terrible record in world cups. I'm sure India's celebrations can be explained in a similar fashion. But I feel that if Australia had won, there would be markedly less criticism of 20-20's.

  • Vijay on September 29, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    Hats off to Furqan for putting the ball in the right areas. However, cricket in India is more than an entertaining game or life itself. It defines our national character and any attack(veiled or unveiled) on that makes us get carried away. But as Furqan says we could have just focussed on the cricket by saying that man of the match for the game not only settled the world cup final but also any misconceptions in the mind of Shoaib malik.

  • Faraz Khalid on September 29, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    well said :)

  • Pramod_India on September 29, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    Hats off to you Furqan and you also Mukul for reproducing the post. I hope you got the message regarding Malik's comments. It is cricket that is more important.

  • Faraaz on September 29, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    Well, it doesn't seem like he is disagreeing with you on the main point of the article which is Shoaib's comment. You both agree that his comment was in poor taste, which they would be had they been made under the implied intentions. After reading "Scenes from a Final" I was shocked that so many people believed that Malik was ignorant enough to make such a callus comment or so political as to make a veiled statement about Muslims around the world. It blows my mind that the New Zealand semi-final match was not mentioned in the slightest. Malik said at the post match ceremony before fielding any questions (the exact same situation at the final):

    "First of all I want to say something over here. I want to thank you my teammates, for all Pakistani peoples and the way they settled all over the world."

    Now, what could have changed between the semi-final and the final that would cause Malik to change his sentiments and say something with larger implications? Nothing, thats what- it was a simple slip of the tongue, he said Muslim's around the world instead of Pakistanis around the world. And if that didn't provide enough insight into the issue, the poor grammar, choppy English and his obvious nervousness at giving the interview should have. Malik is not the abrasive, ignorant, agitator that Kesavan makes him out to be and by making these claims he left a bitter taste in many peoples mouth and took attention away from the final by focusing on a two second misstatement and blowing it up into some sort of warped political/religious issue. Next time, make sure you are 100% sure about something before you drag someone's name through the mud.

  • vjohnsonm on September 29, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    I read your comments. As Mukul pointed out, it is written nicely and shows that you are a rational cricket fan.

    God bless

  • Mukund Sundarajan on September 29, 2007, 5:33 GMT

    Give Furqan a column. He writes well.

  • Omer Admani on September 29, 2007, 5:20 GMT

    That is just one person's opinion and Malik's comments were definitely not in bad taste. I think that is utter rubbish, he didn't intend the extended stretch of connections applied here. Furthermore, lets test his logic. Suppose there are Muslims in UAE that support Pakistan-- Muslims of Pakistani origin. Couldn't he thank them for supporting his team? Or should he have said, 'I thank the Muslims around the world with the exception of India'? Now that could be just plain awkard and suspicious in intent. It was just a casual statement of nothing other than gratitude for support the team gets from around the world. Besides that I have to question the logic behind this blog entry as well. You say that what this guy wrote above as a civil discussion to imply what others might have written as not civil? Also, the guy above states the... obvious. I don't see any point in that.

  • Anthony on September 29, 2007, 4:54 GMT

    I'm glad India and Pakistani fans finally have put aside their differences. But I wonder, when will this relentless back-slapping end? Its only a 20-20 cup for heaven's sake. Half of India's winning team wont even be playing the ODI series. I, like every non-Indian/Pakistani fan, am hoping that Australia and South Africa beat India and Pakistan to within an inch of their cricketing lives.

    I personally am not a great fan of the robotic Aussies or the sour South Africans but in the words of Andrew Symonds "I've been watching how India has been carrying on over the last few days".

  • Ali on September 29, 2007, 4:41 GMT

    Dont we have better things to talk about than all this. We all know language is an issue for our team but have you guys ever seen or heard FIFA players who are the biggest and most known in the world today. We all know he didnt mean it and it slipped out just because he was trying to thank people in this month or Ramazan. Guys, please take a chill and stop being in a complex. No on in FIFA or other European/South Asian games talks in english and we all think so high about them. We say "Oh its ok we understand that english is not their mother toungue". I dont know why we all in India and Pakistan tend to create an issue out of these little things. He is a Pakistani and Urdu is his toungue. Be proud and move on.

    Ali

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  • Ali on September 29, 2007, 4:41 GMT

    Dont we have better things to talk about than all this. We all know language is an issue for our team but have you guys ever seen or heard FIFA players who are the biggest and most known in the world today. We all know he didnt mean it and it slipped out just because he was trying to thank people in this month or Ramazan. Guys, please take a chill and stop being in a complex. No on in FIFA or other European/South Asian games talks in english and we all think so high about them. We say "Oh its ok we understand that english is not their mother toungue". I dont know why we all in India and Pakistan tend to create an issue out of these little things. He is a Pakistani and Urdu is his toungue. Be proud and move on.

    Ali

  • Anthony on September 29, 2007, 4:54 GMT

    I'm glad India and Pakistani fans finally have put aside their differences. But I wonder, when will this relentless back-slapping end? Its only a 20-20 cup for heaven's sake. Half of India's winning team wont even be playing the ODI series. I, like every non-Indian/Pakistani fan, am hoping that Australia and South Africa beat India and Pakistan to within an inch of their cricketing lives.

    I personally am not a great fan of the robotic Aussies or the sour South Africans but in the words of Andrew Symonds "I've been watching how India has been carrying on over the last few days".

  • Omer Admani on September 29, 2007, 5:20 GMT

    That is just one person's opinion and Malik's comments were definitely not in bad taste. I think that is utter rubbish, he didn't intend the extended stretch of connections applied here. Furthermore, lets test his logic. Suppose there are Muslims in UAE that support Pakistan-- Muslims of Pakistani origin. Couldn't he thank them for supporting his team? Or should he have said, 'I thank the Muslims around the world with the exception of India'? Now that could be just plain awkard and suspicious in intent. It was just a casual statement of nothing other than gratitude for support the team gets from around the world. Besides that I have to question the logic behind this blog entry as well. You say that what this guy wrote above as a civil discussion to imply what others might have written as not civil? Also, the guy above states the... obvious. I don't see any point in that.

  • Mukund Sundarajan on September 29, 2007, 5:33 GMT

    Give Furqan a column. He writes well.

  • vjohnsonm on September 29, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    I read your comments. As Mukul pointed out, it is written nicely and shows that you are a rational cricket fan.

    God bless

  • Faraaz on September 29, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    Well, it doesn't seem like he is disagreeing with you on the main point of the article which is Shoaib's comment. You both agree that his comment was in poor taste, which they would be had they been made under the implied intentions. After reading "Scenes from a Final" I was shocked that so many people believed that Malik was ignorant enough to make such a callus comment or so political as to make a veiled statement about Muslims around the world. It blows my mind that the New Zealand semi-final match was not mentioned in the slightest. Malik said at the post match ceremony before fielding any questions (the exact same situation at the final):

    "First of all I want to say something over here. I want to thank you my teammates, for all Pakistani peoples and the way they settled all over the world."

    Now, what could have changed between the semi-final and the final that would cause Malik to change his sentiments and say something with larger implications? Nothing, thats what- it was a simple slip of the tongue, he said Muslim's around the world instead of Pakistanis around the world. And if that didn't provide enough insight into the issue, the poor grammar, choppy English and his obvious nervousness at giving the interview should have. Malik is not the abrasive, ignorant, agitator that Kesavan makes him out to be and by making these claims he left a bitter taste in many peoples mouth and took attention away from the final by focusing on a two second misstatement and blowing it up into some sort of warped political/religious issue. Next time, make sure you are 100% sure about something before you drag someone's name through the mud.

  • Pramod_India on September 29, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    Hats off to you Furqan and you also Mukul for reproducing the post. I hope you got the message regarding Malik's comments. It is cricket that is more important.

  • Faraz Khalid on September 29, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    well said :)

  • Vijay on September 29, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    Hats off to Furqan for putting the ball in the right areas. However, cricket in India is more than an entertaining game or life itself. It defines our national character and any attack(veiled or unveiled) on that makes us get carried away. But as Furqan says we could have just focussed on the cricket by saying that man of the match for the game not only settled the world cup final but also any misconceptions in the mind of Shoaib malik.

  • Faraaz on September 29, 2007, 6:43 GMT

    In response to Anthony:

    Of course its "only a 20-20" to the teams who faired poorly, but I guarantee there would have been celebrations regardless of who won. To understand the reason this final has caused the amount of joy in the subcontinent that it has, you must look at the context.

    For example, as a Pakistan fan watching Pakistan cricket for the past year, I saw one awful event after another (the Oval, the ODI World Cup, Bob Woolmer, Shoaib Akthar, Inzy leaving, Younis' captaincy indecision, etc). Now for the first time it looks like Pakistan is playing sensibly and cohesively and the 20-20 game provides a stepping stone for the larger forms of the game and Pakistan is celebrating the potential success that is emerging in the form of a new captain, fresh bowlers, and sharper fielding. Obviously if Australia had won, they wouldn't have celebrated because they haven't experienced the troubles that Pakistan has or own a terrible record in world cups. I'm sure India's celebrations can be explained in a similar fashion. But I feel that if Australia had won, there would be markedly less criticism of 20-20's.