I am Cricket… I am Pakistan

I am Cricket I am Pakistan

This piece was originally written for Jalaibi.com

I was asked to write a piece for Jalaibi and I agreed to it since I wanted to get back to regular writing but after four days I still was unsure what to write about… Sitting like a lame duck, though lame duck day had been celebrated three days ago, I was rubbing my thumb on the embossed words on my wrist band which read: “I am Pakistan”. That was my eureka moment, yes I am Pakistan but what does that mean? Is that the mountains and waterfalls of the north? Or is it the untapped beauty of south? Is the fields of Punjab or the mysteries of KP? What does it mean? There is no one meaning to it, at one point it mean resilience at some other point it means zeal, at one point it means peace of a calm night on the other time it might mean the soaked in sweat struggle of an afternoon under the sun.

It has different meanings for many of us but there are few things that unify our hearts like the colour green, the golden star, a team of eleven men on the cricket field and millions playing remotely. Pakistan also means cricket. Yes I am Pakistan and I am cricket.

I am the third most decorated team in terms of titles won in the game, I am the dark horse, unpredictable till the end. I am the success at the Oval against England and in Dhaka against the West Indies. I am the maiden test ball of Intakhab Alam, I am the stoke-play of Majid Khan and Asif Iqbal. I am Javed Miandad’s last ball struck for six on that dusty afternoon in Sharjah and I am that deep extra cover six of Inzamam. I am Imran Khan’s inswinger, Waqar Younis’ banana swinger. I am 100.2 mph of Shoaib Akhtar and I am Wasim Akram’s 3/12. I am Mushtaq and Qadir’s googly, Afridi’s shooter and Ajmal’s doosra. I am the Nehru Cup victory, I am Melbourne’s winning speeches, I am the winning run of  theT20 final, and I am Misbah the war time captain. I am a team that no one comes to play with yet I travel across the cricket map to face them and beat them.

I might be disappointing at times, I may underperform. But I have the ability to bounce back. When I believe in myself I can make magic, on my day even the best opposition get stumped. I am the hope of almost 180 million hearts, I can anger them and frustrate them, but I can elate them, unite them and when the commentators a million miles away say “Pakistan wins” I incite jubilation beyond measure. For a little while, I can make them forget their woes, their grief, for a little while I am their happiness. I face defining moments in the field. When the final over starts, my heart is in my throat but I know at home Pakistan is uniting: father’s pacing, mother’s praying, children hoping. Sounds of “Who Rules the World” and “Hay Jazba Janoon” still give me goosebumps.

We are facing some tough times right now and the future looks bleak. I may be down, but I’m never out. I have my own way to glory. I am Cricket and Yes, I am Pakistan.

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