Pakistan got back onto the field of cricket in the midst of all the 'Spot Fixing" allegations. One hoped that the cricket fan would keep the faith, and it was heartening to see that at Cardiff the fans were there in decent numbers with their Patriotic colours cheering on their team. But with all that has happened, one wondered whether this was just a show of bravado from the Pakistani expats or whether they were genuinely there for the cricket.
Whatever the reason, the atmosphere at the first Twenty20 against England was under a cloud for sure. It was not just another T20 game where the mood is normally synonymous with the game, that of being light hearted. And as the 35 year old" Rawalpindi not so express" – Akhtar dropped an absolutely straightforward catch, one just smiled and accepted this as just another result of the much larger picture. Alright this was not fixed, but then again with Pakistan can we ever really know anymore? This was a team that one loved for their sheer erratic behaviour. Their ability to pull off the improbable. Their reputation of being predictably unpredictable. But now in retrospect, much like one views failed relationships, one can sense that it was not just insanity but a planned or rather fixed circus of deception.
But there are questions that get thrown out into the open. Is it fair to look at an entire team with disbelieving eyes? Is it just about those few immoral men who bring disrepute? Is what"s right and what"s wrong so difficult for grown up men to understand? Is one just awfully naive expecting cricketers not to mess with the game that they play? Is money never ever really enough? There are answers but then again are there?
Just for the sake of one nation, the cricket lover must not get cynical. There are honest cricketers out there going about their job and entertaining those who passionately follow the game. So one must keep the faith in the game, and the current crop that play it. The game will go on that"s a given but it"s the positive attitude that must also on along with it. As in life, there is deceit and foul play and above all corruption all around, but along with it there is belief and there is trust that Cricket triumphs always in the end for all the right reasons.
As for restoring faith in the Pakistan cricket team, now that will take some doing. It"s tough and very sad, for as one mentioned earlier they were the kind of team that you loved for their errant often mercurial ways. And now it all seems like a sham. But here too we must believe that there are honest men out there too, but will we ever really know?
What Pakistan Cricket needs today is a new generation Imran Khan. For King Khan in his playing days was an educated man who believed in the game and made sure that his team mates abstained from the lure of fixing. In a nutshell the team was petrified of him. Perhaps that is the fix. Are there any Imran Khan"s in Pakistan Cricket today? Sadly not, one thinks!! But if there is one, please stand up now, for as a cricket lover one would like to see the team one loved back in the midst of all that cricket stands for. For the sheer essence of the game, which is such a super dynamic metaphor for life.
And for now, in Cricket we keep the faith.