Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Morning After...Cricket

The entire nation woke up yesterday feeling exuberant, hopeful and somehow, very sure that we will win. How could we lose? Our team had played so well against all odds. We weren’t perfect but we had the spirit to win. Higher forces were with us. ‘This World Cup is ours’; you wrote this on your Facebook status, you heard this on the media and you sat with incredible expectations in front of the telly yesterday, your celebrations all ready for the victory party.

But we lost, to India, Ouch!

The entire nation woke up today in mourning. We are going through a mixture of emotions at the moment. There is anger, shock, disappointment, frustration, hurt, and disbelief. Was this a bad dream?

The fact that we managed to reach the semi-finals was a huge feat in itself. A team which was considered a black sheep managed to show the world otherwise. Our bowling attack was, without Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, one of the best in the tournament. But only a strong bowling attack isn’t enough and whether we like it or not, we lost to a better team yesterday.

Why did we lose? Was it because of Umar Gul’s poor bowling? The catches we dropped of Tendulkar? Our batting collapse? Yes. But we also lost because our team wasn’t driven enough to win. When our team reached the semi-finals in 1992, they knew this was their cup. And love him or hate him, it was Imran Khan who instilled this belief in the team. He led the team from the front and took no nonsense. When your wicket keeper drops catches and the replacement feigns an injury, you know you have a problem. And the problem is that, at the end of the day, every one wants his central contract intact (unless he has relations with bookies).

To win, on the field or in life, we must have the desire to win. Passion for the game isn’t enough. It requires hard work, discipline and dedication. It requires honest performances and the ability to think beyond our own gain. How can we expect our cricket team to display these traits when we, as a nation, don’t possess them?

Yesterday’s game was not just a defeat in a cricket match. It was a wake-up call for us. If we give holidays because of a cricket match, stop all traffic because of VIP movement on the roads, break signals, get roads dug up because they lead to the President’s private residence, misuse State resources (at any level), have corrupt police and politicians, unemployment, illiteracy, and many other vices – how can we stand united and fight against the perils which surround us?

We don’t blame you Afridi. At least you fought against the odds and were gracious in your defeat, which is more than what can be said about any of us.

Photographs: Google Images