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The media hype. The continuous telecasts on television, all blaring with the same message. The message, we all know, deep inside, for the message to contain the thing we Pakistanis longed for the past few weeks. Victory against our counter part- India and the World Cup, glimmering brightly in the hands of Shahid Afridi.

Of course, we were all united. Practically, the whole population of Pakistan was under the banner of a single sport-cricket. Cricket, the ultimate game of the Pakistanis. Yes, the whole country had dreamt of anything else but the World Cup for the previous few weeks and the millions of supplications and the hands held together proved the above statement. The annoying guy in class, with his drowsy voice, would talk of nothing but how the Pakistani bowlers fared through the matches, the other kid with the administrator and the Chemistry teacher spending the whole period on the strategy Afridi would adopt in the next match. World Cup Cricket fever was literally everywhere, in every nook and cranny, every crevice of Pakistan and wherever Pakistani residents are around the world.

There was an ultimate show of patriotism by every single person in the country, every single member of the community. True to the word, this group of eleven men succeeded in joining the hearts of millions in green, wishing only for one thing, which previously, perhaps for Quaid and the small band of the Muslim League, had never been achieved. This act which filled Pakistani hearts with joy despite of the horrendous conditions which plague our society, the recent drone attacks and the unfavourable political and economical situation of the country. The contrast between the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the healthy and the disabled were all disregarded in the previous weeks because of the extraordinary feat achieved by these eleven men. Who would have expected it? The semi-finals. Sufficient to say, out nation showed an immense feeling of patriotism, which brings me to the purpose of my writing.

Has the thought ever crossed your mind: what is patriotism? The undying love for one’s country which grows steadily throughout one’s lifetime, and not the short bursts of apparent patriotism our politicians show almost too often. But does that also mean, that patriotism does not include the will of seeing the flag od our country on top, as the first, as the champions of the World Cup? Does that mean, that we turn a blind eye to the mistakes our cricket team and the board have done in Mohali? Do we normally turn a blind eye to the politicians’ doings and call our alertness in these matters patriotism? We criticize the politicians, justly so, and we call it patriotism. Then why not the criticism here?

Criticism is important. Important for the losing side as well as the winning side. It is vital for the development of the team and the country. It is significant in the word we use so reverently, ‘patriotism’. Without the critique, it is almost like allowing a child to sin, without making the utter effort to make him realize his deeds. And that is precisely what we are doing right now. No doubt, we appreciate the team’s efforts for reaching the semi-finals, and being one of the best teams out there when they want to, but we would not be able to improve if we brainstorm and perform a surgery of all the points and improvements to be done, otherwise, we would be long term losers.

But what’s the use of ‘standing up’ for those heroes who have committed the fundamental blunders? A total of 260 runs, thanks to the exceptionally well bowling by Wahab RIaz, Saeed Ajmal, Hafeez and Shahid Afridi. This was a total which was totally reachable! Five catches missed, an additional 30 runs (the margin by which Pakistan attained defeat), the poor shot selection by most of the batsmen and the extremely slow innings at the latter part of the game was truly an understatement to the team! We ‘stand up’ for those who managed to accomplish a superb subjugation at an already victorious game?

And still again, whilst now these occurrence are a thing of the past, the next series to come, is Kamran Akmal to still be selected after all the remarks from practically everyone about his poor performance as his wicket keeping? Have we still not realized our mistake all this while? The seeming unprofessionalism of the board?

We say, everything’s fine. Better luck next time. Appreciation-that’s the job. But how long will this go on? The endless successions of matches around the corner and the World Cup after four years, if our side do lose will we be able to keep up this appreciative attitude? Definitely, certainly not, mark my words! Of course, those who have little understanding of the game will keep up this attitude despite the circumstances. How will we be able have a better luck next time if we don’t realize our blunders and the shortcomings of the board and team and work on them rather than completely disregard them?

It is to be known and universally accepted that any team that participates in the CWC or any other tournament aims for eventual glory. What did Afridi mean by ‘I promised my nation to reach the semi-finals’? To a common man, that just goes on to show the utter lowly state of confidence in the team and the belief of the team being incapable of achieving anything higher. And ‘stand up’ for those heroes who don’t have a sliver of faith in themselves? Remember, we hear frequently about those who give up on themselves before the real show are losers. Ironic, ain’t it?

It may sound ‘blasphemous’, especially to the noble patriotic person who reads this piece of honest writing, but haven’t I stated facts? The thought of ‘Shahid lala’ standing with the National Anthem blaring on the Mohali stadium speakers is merely an image that is too often repeated at any match, what’s so special about it?

Thus as a conclusion, I can only say that the better side gained glory. But can we surely say that India was the better side?





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