June 2, 2012

Pakistan cricket

A once-great stadium stuck in a bygone era

George Binoy

In the National, Osman Samiuddin describes the origins of the National Stadium in Karachi, why it became Pakistan's fortress, and how it is now mostly deserted.

There is nothing grand about the stadium and it has none of the red-stoned ambition or Moghul pretensions of Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium. The National Stadium is white and cemented. Usually it is dusty. The stands, seating 34,000 make do, no more. The difference with Gaddafi Stadium - one, beautiful, faux-cultural, a work of art and architecture, and the other clunky and functional - is a difference not just of geography but reflective of the people, a thinking, a way of life. All told, the National Stadium took about four months to build. Kafiluddin Ahmed, chief engineer in the local government and cricket board treasurer was the man most responsible, a man who gave to cricket as much pleasure as he derived.

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George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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