Hi, I’m Naveed Anwer and last night I met our cricket team as they landed at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.
And I’m going to tell you all about it.
Many of you might know me from this MangoBaaz video:
I’m a new addition to the Karachi office and if I had a rupee for every single time someone has made the “take-off-that-shirt” joke, I’d probably own MangoBaaz
Mere andar bachpan se hee cricket ka keera tha.
Aur kyun na ho? There’s so much for the world to learn from our team. Things like, how to bounce back strong when the chips are down, how to trust yourself, others around you, how to turn your passion into literal fuel, how to always keep your opponent on the edge irrespective of how inconsistent you might be. So much to learn from this team.
Or in the words of Junaid Jamshed, ‘Anay walay daur ke insaan hum se jeena seekheinge‘
So, after the absolutely insane, breathtaking, unexpectedly EXCELLENT show our team put up, I couldn’t help but head to the airport to receive our cricketing LEGENDS.
But this wasn’t an easy gig.
There was a lot of pre-meditation and planning.
Agar guard ne roka tou kya kaheingay?
And our fears were legit. Guard uncle ne rok leea. Of course, who in their right minds would drive all the way to the airport to have McDonald’s?
We had a contingency plan.
Ab itnay duur aaye thay tou himmat kerni hee thi.
And it was a SUCCESS.
…Other than the fact that I was one man down.
Boy oh boy, was I excited.
The scenes were UNREAL.
There was a massive pool of fans everywhere, the energy, the patriotism, the naaraybaazi...the atmosphere incomparable to anything I’ve seen in Pakistan in a long time.
And batman level security, boys. This team is a national treasure, after all.
And lots and lots of Jeevay Jeevay:
And some other classic milli taranay we’ve all grown up with:
The band knew just what the crowd wanted: A beat to bump them up while the heroes arrive.
Magar where was the team???
We were told oh captain, our captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Rumman Raees were the ones who’ve landed in Karachi, the rest of the team has made their way to Lahore. *Sigh*
Oh and, I also spotted the desi Hans Zimmer:
Kitnay cute hein yeh uncle.
Just look at the glorious green flag just wavering around:
When Sarfaraz Ahmed finally arrived, it was like a walk through the sea of people.
The crowd was eclectic. There was so much pride and joy in the air. The hooting, the dancing, the loud tunes; these were Pakistanis who haven’t seen International cricket at home ground in ages and the team that has been put down way too many times. It was truly the rise of the underdogs and I couldn’t help but tear up a little.
Then Rumman Raees arrived and there were a dozen hands putting him on the back.
As for my long lost friend Tayyab (who I forgot about), here’s how he finally made it:
That’s all folks. Thanks for joining us on one helluva adventure.
An ode to Pakistan cricket team and my first love:
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Cover image via: dunyanews.tv