Since independence, Pakistan has had a unique position among the cricketing nations. Its cricketers play with passion and always seem to come up with exciting cricket. Ordinary and decent don’t excite us. We have a knack for drama, in victory and defeat. For most part of our history, we have been ranked among the top teams.
Since colonial times, cricket has had a foothold in Indo-Pak region, and soon after independence Pakistan started playing at the test level in 1952. On their first tour to England in 1954, Pakistan drew 1-1 with famous victory at Oval. Hafeez Kardar was the captain and Fazal Mehmood was the chief architect with 12 wickets. This victory announced the country at international level and in a way, set the mold for future Pakistani teams, – a visionary captain with an aggressive quick bowler and lots of passion.
From Fazal to Sarfaraz and Imran to Wasim and Waqar to Shoaib and Gul, we see a long line of good aggressive fast bowlers. On batting side, from Hanif Mohammad to Younis Khan, there is a long list of Pakistani legends that include Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan, Javed Miandad, Inzamam ul Haq and Mohammad Yousaf.
What sets Pakistanis apart from other cricketing nations is their innovation. They always look to transform the game. Case in point is the legendary reverse-swing, which was a Pakistani invention. It changed the fight between bat and ball. Then there is googly of Abdul Qadir. He had an aura of a magician around him. Then there is sheer beauty and genius of Saqlain’s doosra. Also on the batting side, Javed Miandad was a bit of a trend setter. He employed reverse-sweeps to upset bowlers, and used angles to manipulate opponents’ field placements. All these are some examples of the genius of Pak istan’s cricketers.
Another defining feature of Pakistan’s cricketers is this in-your-face attitude that they all seem to have. They leave it all out on the field, and they push the limits of the game, and explore new horizons. They may get under the skin of opponents and administrators of the game, but the fans love them for it.
Another factor is that most of our talent comes young, raw and un-coached. This contributes to their mercurial nature, as well as the above discussed ability to be innovative. The fact that they can beat any side of the world on any day in any conditions makes this team loved, and sometimes hated, but you can’t not follow them. They are disappointing at times, but they are not boring, never have been.
Since the 2009 attacks on Sri Lankan team, the country has been isolated. We haven’t had any cricket other than that Zimbabwe tour, which is heart-breaking for the country as well as for cricket fans because as much as Pakistan needs cricket, cricket needs Pakistan as well.
And therefore PSL becomes a wonderful opportunity to promote cricket in Pakistan and world wide. The stars will showcase their talent to Pakistani and world audience, and in the process they will inspire kids on the streets to play this beautiful game and emulate their heroes.