February 23, 2011

Can we have the real Pakistan, please?

Andrew Hughes
Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis watch Pakistan training, Hambantota, February 21, 2011
Afridi and Waqar contemplate with distaste the unprecedented outbreak of sobriety in the Pakistan ranks  © AFP
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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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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....

Posted by 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.

Posted by Asif on (February 24, 2011, 6:34 GMT)

And what happened on Wednesday February 23rd?

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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

Posted by Adeel on (February 24, 2011, 6:06 GMT)

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

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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..........

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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