New age November 12, 2008

Pakistan's rusty millionaires

It's been a barren few months

It's been a barren few months. While India has stormed to the top of world cricket, Pakistan has almost been blasted out of it. In the course of those mad months, Pakistan has not only lost any hope of hosting regular international cricket, but it has also lost two of its most precious stars, Mohammads Yousuf and Asif.

These are deep, perhaps irreperable wounds, made more painful by a self-destructing start from Pakistan's new cricket administration. Ejaz Butt and Intikhab Alam might excite the sweet sellers of Pakistan but they do little to sweeten the vast majority of Pakistan cricket fans.

Yet, where there is life there is hope. And Pakistan meander back onto the international stage today, forced to relaunch their international programme on neutral territory. I don't care. It's great to see Pakistan's team back in proper international competition. They will thrill and disappoint in equal measure. They will lose as much as they will win. But we can gladly return to some cricketing drama because we've had our fill of the political and administrative catastrophe.

Pakistan's cricketers often play like millionaires, rash strokes and wild deliveries produced with such regularity that they might have been practising them. In this tournament they will be rusty, and the verdict may depend on the hunger of the newly-made millionaires in the West Indian team.

For once, though, the result matters less than the symbolism. Welcome back boys.

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