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A red sports car speeds into shot, swerves, and demolishes a row of dustbins. Detective Afridi leaps out of the car. He waits. Thirty seconds later a grey, medium-sized family saloon trundles into view, pulls alongside, reverses, inches forward, reverses again and finally parks the regulation distance away. Detective Misbah climbs out, locks the door, checks that he has locked it, double-checks that he has definitely locked it, and joins his colleague.
Afridi: What took you?
Misbah: The speed limit in a built-up area is 30 miles an hour, as well you know.
Afridi: Who cares about the speed limit!
Misbah: I'll pretend I didn't hear that Detective Afridi.
Afridi: What's the point of being a policeman if you can't drive as fast as you can through the city with your sirens blaring?
Misbah: Tell me, have you ever heard the story of the hare and the tortoise.
Afridi: (rolls eyes) Yes, the crowd come to watch the man with the lovely hair but when they see the boring tortoise winning they all go home.
Misbah: Your inability to grasp a simple animal fable is symptomatic of your inability to learn from any experience, and why are you yawning?
Afridi: I'm not yawning, I'm just exercising my jawbones
Misbah: What time did you go to bed last night?
Afridi: I don't know, who cares?
Misbah: It is a well known fact that if a police officer doesn't get precisely 8.23 hours of sleep per night his effectiveness diminishes by 0.7% for each minute. Didn't they teach you anything at Pakistan Police Training College.
Afridi: I dunno. I didn't go to the lectures. I was practising hitting sixes.
Misbah: Hitting sixes? What is that?
Afridi: It's easy. You get someone to throw a leather ball at you from 22 yards away, then you take a big plank of wood, like this, step back, close your eyes and swing. Boom!
Misbah: It sounds extremely reckless and highly irresponsible
Afridi: So what do you do for fun then?
Misbah: I paint my bathroom.
Afridi: That's it?
Misbah: Yes. I find it very fulfilling.
Afridi: But it takes five minutes to paint a bathroom. Smash the can of paint open, point it at the wall and then spin round and round as fast as you can.
Misbah: I have been painting my bathroom for seven and a half years. Every night I get home from work, change out of my sensible police clothes into my sensible bathroom-painting clothes and spend a rewarding six hours patiently accumulating brush strokes. I have already completed one wall and will soon be starting on the second.
Afridi: I can't believe they gave you a promotion.
Misbah: Well, Chief Waqar put me in charge of this operation, so get used to it. Now as I understand it, the hostages are being held in that deserted cricket stadium.
Afridi: (under his breath) It wasn't deserted before you arrived.
Misbah: We need a plan that will enable us to gain the safe release of the hostages whilst minimising damage to the surrounding area and what are you doing with that Kalashknikov, Detective Afridi.
Afridi: There's only one plan for dealing with a hostage situation
Misbah: Let me guess. Kick down the door, shout, "Hasta la vista, bad guys!" and spray the entire area with bullets.
Afridi: Yes, how did you know?
Misbah: It's the same plan you use for bank robberies, art-theft, filing your expenses with the accounts department and opening a can of fizzy drink.
Afridi: Hey, what can I say. I'm Boom Boom Afridi. My fans expect it.
Misbah: (sighs) No. We will do this my way. Pass me that bag.
Afridi: What's in it?
Afridi: Oh cool! Can I be Che Guevara? Or Genghis Khan? Or Bruce Willis?
Misbah: No you can't. You will wear this.
Afridi: What is it?
Misbah: It's a shrub.
Afridi: A what?
Misbah: A buddleia, to be precise. And I will be a rhododendron bush.
Afridi: What are we going to do, give them greenfly?
Misbah: Please try and concentrate. Disguised as harmless foliage, we will not attract attention. By making small, incremental movements towards the cricket stadium, we will eventually be able to catch them unawares.
Afridi: And how long will that take?
Misbah: Moving at a rate of two inches per hour, I estimate about a fortnight. Where are you going? And where did you get that non-regulation grenade launcher?
Afridi: Sorry Misbah, but Boom Boom Afridi doesn't roll like that.
Misbah: Wait! Come back Detective Afridi! Don't be a hero! There's a World Cup to think of! We need your nagging yet increasingly ineffective part-time spin-bowling if we are to fulfil our ambition of going out in the semi-finals!
(To be continued)
Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Hughes
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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