February 23, 2011

Can we have the real Pakistan, please?

What’s going on with all the harmony, discipline and focus?
30

Saturday, 19th February Shahid Afridi thinks that Pakistan are dangerous. I disagree. A tamer set of green-clad cricketers you will rarely see. Shoaib Akhtar is an ageing rockstar, Younis Khan and Misbah ul-Haq are as sensible as a stout pair of brogues and even the captain is on his best behaviour. They’re about as dangerous as a Sunday afternoon in Bournemouth. And frankly, all this harmony, discipline and focus is dull, dull, dull; we get more than enough of that from the other teams. Loosen up, Shahid, and do something silly!

Monday, 21st February As a species we have achieved much. We have travelled to the moon, carved railways through the sides of mountains, discovered supersonic travel, and eliminated the need to take two bottles into the shower. And yet it appears that, given 2000 years’ practice, four years’ notice, a potential audience of a billion and pots of money, we are still unable to satisfactorily arrange an efficient method of ensuring sufficient people gain entrance to a sporting event in exchange for a small fee.

The range of ways the authorities have found to deter people from attending World Cup games is impressive. Set up websites to handle public demand that then crash due to public demand. Refuse to tell anyone where they can buy a ticket. Don’t advertise where the games are happening until the last minute, like illegal parties. And, thanks to a suggestion from the Mumbai CA’s marketing consultant, a Mr Wonka, the public allocation of 10 golden tickets for the final have been hidden in bars of chocolate to be sold in sweet shops throughout India.

Tuesday, 22nd February I don’t agree with this idea that Associate Members are cluttering up the World Cup. For one thing, it is a dangerous precedent to start excluding teams from competitions on the grounds that they haven’t got a hope in hell of winning them. Where do you draw the line? If such a rule was in place, England might never play in a World Cup again. Ditto New Zealand and West Indies. A few years from now, we could be looking at a tournament featuring just India, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Which might be better, but rather misses the point.

Anyway, you don’t always need a close game to be entertained. Today’s match, for example, had everything. There was an impressive display of formation politeness (“Would you like to catch the ball?” “No sir, I couldn’t, possibly. After you.” “No, you go, I insist”) a coconut shy in the covers, some hilarious clowning around on the boundary, and a lovely rendition of the traditional “Four Men in the Circle” dance. All that was missing were the silly hats, tinkly ankle bells and waving handkerchiefs. This troupe of English folk dancers are sure to be a hit on their six-date Indian tour.

And there was KP, continuing with his tradition of celebrating left-arm spinners. As heroic flaws go, this helplessness in the face of a ball heading towards him from a slightly wider angle is baffling. After all, it took a rare glowing green rock from outer space to bring Superman down. Though, to be fair, Clark Kent’s mission was easier: save the world whilst maintaining anonymity. KP has a lot more on his plate. He has to open the innings in the World Cup but doesn’t quite know how. Do they want him to be Kevin Boycott or Kevin Botham? As sportsmen would say, it’s very much swings and roundabouts being a superhero.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Faisal Malik on February 27, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Pakistan's win against sri lanka on 26th should keep Mr Hughes from writing about Pakistan Team.

  • Waheed on February 26, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Can we have the real Pakistan, please?

    Answer: Here is the real Pakistan beating so-called Favorites.

    They have nothing to lose, But everything to win...

    Stay and watch more....

  • dani maz on February 24, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    Oh no! Mr. Hughes, you gotta 'um! Afridi instead should've said that they are a dumb mis-managed team and should've compared themselves with some random boring english city. To Bournemouth?.. I wish usage of fancy words made everything true in my real world! How sad.

  • Asif on February 24, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    And what happened on Wednesday February 23rd?

  • Nayyar on February 24, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    This is absurd ! No matter what the Pakistanis do, you guys wont close your mouths ! If I were them I wouldn't have given a damn what you think.

  • Zeeshan Shaukat on February 24, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    Mr Andrew Hughes I think You are on Great mistake. Pakistan Is a really dangrous team and they proved themselves dangrous during the series againts new zealand and in worldcup

  • Adeel on February 24, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Let's wait and watch what will happen in battlefield not by saying anything.

  • Ehsan on February 24, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    Response to Afridi:

    Response to Andrew,

    Respected Andrew , its a figure of speech when they say its dangerous. Why are you being so _ _ _ about it.

  • Ali on February 24, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    New Pakistani Team Look Skills are all telling me, watch out for Pakistan they just might be the winners of 2011 world cup.

  • hafiz on February 24, 2011, 1:39 GMT

    well Mr. Andrew u don't have to wait long for shahid to do something stupid..........lol but plz let him be sober for the first time in his life, just for this tournament..........

  • Faisal Malik on February 27, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Pakistan's win against sri lanka on 26th should keep Mr Hughes from writing about Pakistan Team.

  • Waheed on February 26, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Can we have the real Pakistan, please?

    Answer: Here is the real Pakistan beating so-called Favorites.

    They have nothing to lose, But everything to win...

    Stay and watch more....

  • dani maz on February 24, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    Oh no! Mr. Hughes, you gotta 'um! Afridi instead should've said that they are a dumb mis-managed team and should've compared themselves with some random boring english city. To Bournemouth?.. I wish usage of fancy words made everything true in my real world! How sad.

  • Asif on February 24, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    And what happened on Wednesday February 23rd?

  • Nayyar on February 24, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    This is absurd ! No matter what the Pakistanis do, you guys wont close your mouths ! If I were them I wouldn't have given a damn what you think.

  • Zeeshan Shaukat on February 24, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    Mr Andrew Hughes I think You are on Great mistake. Pakistan Is a really dangrous team and they proved themselves dangrous during the series againts new zealand and in worldcup

  • Adeel on February 24, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Let's wait and watch what will happen in battlefield not by saying anything.

  • Ehsan on February 24, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    Response to Afridi:

    Response to Andrew,

    Respected Andrew , its a figure of speech when they say its dangerous. Why are you being so _ _ _ about it.

  • Ali on February 24, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    New Pakistani Team Look Skills are all telling me, watch out for Pakistan they just might be the winners of 2011 world cup.

  • hafiz on February 24, 2011, 1:39 GMT

    well Mr. Andrew u don't have to wait long for shahid to do something stupid..........lol but plz let him be sober for the first time in his life, just for this tournament..........

  • Omar Sadiq on February 23, 2011, 20:53 GMT

    Nice article Andrew! Specially the part about the discipline and harmony in the Pak camp. It is kind of unexpected and somewhat unbelievable. We are so used to expecting the unexpected from the Pak team. But wait, there are still many matches to be played and with win(s), comes loss(es). We just need to be patient and watch the fun later on. On a more serious note, this professionalism behavior and performance by the Pak team must have sent shivers down the ICC and the BCCI's spines. They must be thinking, "What else are we supposed to conjur up and fabricate to bring this team down and destroy it forever?" All the best Pak-Ind-Lanka-Bangla and may one of you only win the World Cup.

  • abdul on February 23, 2011, 19:33 GMT

    Pakistan will rise IA!

  • HD on February 23, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    Disagreed. If they continue to deliver a brilliant performance then nothing can stop them from winning.

  • Somo on February 23, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Kevin Boycott....Kevin Botham...ROFL-ly hilarious.

  • Imran Babar on February 23, 2011, 18:05 GMT

    Every one has his own thinkg, and i think you will also agree that TEAN PAKISTAN on the way of victory, all the players are playing good cricket. India and Pakistan are most favorite teams for the CUP. Cheer up India and Pakistan.

  • Arpan on February 23, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    Ouch... I'm an Indian and that still hurt! Someone should send this link to KP! LOL! Wodehousian brilliance in satire over England's struggle against Netherlands! I also noticed the omission of Australia from the dystopian future world cup list!

  • Latha on February 23, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    Wonderful article. Enjoyed reading this one. Especially loved the part about the ticketing fiasco & the Tuesday diary.

  • mudaser on February 23, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    Shahid afridi make another fastest century so that Andrew hughes would get happy

  • faisal quadri on February 23, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    loved the title of this article...

  • mrgupta on February 23, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    “Would you like to catch the ball?” “No sir, I couldn’t, possibly. After you.” “No, you go, I insist” ....Absolutely hilarious. Great Work Andrew

  • DBKNam on February 23, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    I particularly agree with your statement about the Associates. How the ICC think the Associates will improve the standard of their cricket by competing only in the 20/20 World Cup, is unbelievably shortsighted!

  • Vladimir Lem on February 23, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    "If such a rule was in place, England might never play in a World Cup again."

    this quote was epic it made my day

  • Nahim on February 23, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    Perhaps your best piece as yet! Took me a while to get the bit about the two bottles though :)

  • Sher Abdullah Wazir on February 23, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Gloom doom

  • Mudasar Ali on February 23, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    Pakistan is one of the best teams in cricket world cup.They have got the ability to win any game.Specially spinners can play a big role.

  • Taha Shiraz on February 23, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    I agree with Andrew, Pakistan should treat themselves as favourite, not the Dark horses. Green shirts have potential, history and capability to perform as good as any other team. Just the right attitude is needed.......Have a blast guys....do something Silly...........Good Luck!!!!!!!

  • Yasir Hasan on February 23, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    Kind of agree with you...Paksitani team can do wonder on a particular day but fail the consistency required to win 3 matches in a trot... Apart from that even their victories in the recent times were not result of collective effort, individual brilliance came to their rescue

  • shakil Ahmad on February 23, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    I agree with Shahid, It is a dangerous team but, should play with mind and 100% ability

  • prateek gupta on February 23, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    hilarious!especially the line "would u like to catch the ball"english cricketers are so homesick at the moment

  • Morad786 on February 23, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    Andrew:

    Pakistan should not try to contain passion and pride and MUST become a united team with the aggressive performance!

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  • Morad786 on February 23, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    Andrew:

    Pakistan should not try to contain passion and pride and MUST become a united team with the aggressive performance!

  • prateek gupta on February 23, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    hilarious!especially the line "would u like to catch the ball"english cricketers are so homesick at the moment

  • shakil Ahmad on February 23, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    I agree with Shahid, It is a dangerous team but, should play with mind and 100% ability

  • Yasir Hasan on February 23, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    Kind of agree with you...Paksitani team can do wonder on a particular day but fail the consistency required to win 3 matches in a trot... Apart from that even their victories in the recent times were not result of collective effort, individual brilliance came to their rescue

  • Taha Shiraz on February 23, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    I agree with Andrew, Pakistan should treat themselves as favourite, not the Dark horses. Green shirts have potential, history and capability to perform as good as any other team. Just the right attitude is needed.......Have a blast guys....do something Silly...........Good Luck!!!!!!!

  • Mudasar Ali on February 23, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    Pakistan is one of the best teams in cricket world cup.They have got the ability to win any game.Specially spinners can play a big role.

  • Sher Abdullah Wazir on February 23, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Gloom doom

  • Nahim on February 23, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    Perhaps your best piece as yet! Took me a while to get the bit about the two bottles though :)

  • Vladimir Lem on February 23, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    "If such a rule was in place, England might never play in a World Cup again."

    this quote was epic it made my day

  • DBKNam on February 23, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    I particularly agree with your statement about the Associates. How the ICC think the Associates will improve the standard of their cricket by competing only in the 20/20 World Cup, is unbelievably shortsighted!