An open letter to the Pakistan cricket team, straight from the heart, by a die-hard fan.
To my dearest Pakistan cricket team,
The Cricket World Cup is reaching the end of its second week and you have already had four matches. With one of the most anticipated matches just around the corner – against India – the pressure on you is building, but your fans want you to know that ghabrana nahi hai. Although you got off to a shaky start with the match against West Indies, you have already given us some shaandaar cricket moments.
A glorious win against England – a World Cup favorite…
In this stunning performance against our previous colonizers, you guys gave it your all. Your world class bowling (here’s to you Amir, Shadab and Wahab), coupled with patakha power hitters like Babar Azam and veteran Mohammad Hafeez, was in a league of its own. Squeezing the angrezi batting order dry to win by a nail-biting 14 runs gave us a reminder of Pakistan’s cricketing wonder days and hope that it can be restored.
Amir’s wondrous five-wicket haul against Australia…
Muhammad Amir, you showed the world just how khatarnaak Pakistan’s bowling can be. Despite losing the match, your bowling prowess left the cricketing world in awe as you thrashed the Australian middle order, conceding only 30 runs over 10 overs. You have proved yourself to be a formidable match to the best of the world’s batsmen. Shabash!
When you play, we never know what is going to happen.
Despite the fact that your matches give me more tension than my own exam results, the excitement of watching you play is like no other. So is the disappointment… Being your fan is a mushkil task. The relationship between you guys and us fans is often tumultuous and mimics the classic Ross-Rachel on-again, off-again rollercoaster (any Friends fans on the team?)
Our emotions lie on the edge of the balla, rest on the bales of the wicket, and are sewn into the leather of the ball. You win and you’re our mulk ki shan. You lose and we become your biggest critics. We’re sorry about that.
But no matter what, tum jeeto ya haro, we always come back for more.
You have brought back a sense of the unknown to the cricketing world. No other team brings anticipation, hope, and uncertainty all at the same time as you do and we love you for it, even if our blood pressure says otherwise.
I know that Pakistan has much more pressing issues to address than winning a sport, but it brings josh to the country.
Your ability to suspend reality for a while is a gift. At a time when international media only seeks to portray us in a negative light, it is you who can change the game. You lift a whole population up and away from this false image comprising solely of corruption crises, insecurity, and conflict. Through cricket, you build us up to be something more to the world, other than just negative headlines. You can transform us into a positive headline, even if it is just for a fleeting moment.
Not only do you have the potential to reshape our image, but you also have the power to unite Pakistanis from all different walks of life. Whether we are nationals or expats; from Karachi or Lahore; we are able to set aside our differences in the name of cricket. We hold hands in front of the TV screen and shout the loudest Pakistan Zindabad narays in the stadium, all for you. It really is amazing how you, a group of fourteen men, have the ability to invoke such a strong sense of togetherness amongst strangers.
But now, we are on the verge of one of the most-anticipated matches of the tournament.
In just a couple of hours, our population’s collective anxiety levels will climb as you face our neighbor and long-time rival, India. The odds are stacked against us. Our performance so far has been fifty-fifty. Meanwhile, India is in form and has yet to lose a match. With much of the nation’s morale resting on your shoulders, we know the pressure you face is colossal. But what you have in bulk that the Indian team lacks is resilience.
No matter the previous loss, the media’s taunts, or the angry tweets from some of us fans who become a bit too disgruntled, you are always the team that walks into the stadium with an air of confidence, balanced with humility – the team that drowns out the haters and the negativity and always gives its 100% to the game. The team that proves naysayers wrong and never ceases to wow the tamashai. Be that team on Sunday.
Swing that balla, spin that ball aur ghabrana nahi hai – we are with you.
With lots of love,
A devoted fan.
Cover image via icc-cricket.come