On social media, there is a new term “plastic fans”, used for those who quickly change the perception about a player based on a single performance. Such people are the target of news Channels who create hype about the team’s bad performance. The point is, we don’t have the team to produce the expected results. Pakistan’s cricket team has always been unpredictable. The ability to shock the fans, by losing or winning in an impossible way, has always been the trademark of this team. However, the cricket team with which I grew was more charismatic, entertaining, and full of superstars. There is a gap of one generation if not two when we had superstars who could give us a heart attack with their performance. They also disappointed the country but they were not treated like this and they were great enough to be criticized. In this blog, I will highlight how cricket is much more for those Pakistanis who saw it in the 90s and early 2000. Something, today’s cricket fan can’t even imagine.
I would really like to hear the tale of a boy who would bunk his class, nowadays, just to watch a cricket match. Someone, who would wake up at 4 AM in December without alarm, just because he perfectly sets up his mind to wake up, to watch a cricket match. Someone, at the age of 10 years, who would not go to school because it is a match day despite knowing that he will have to take a beating from his parents that day and from school teacher the next morning. You wonder “why would anyone do that ?” it is the passion for the game of cricket that makes you do such a thing. I grew up doing all these things because I had a belief that my sacrifices will be paid off by genuine superstars. I remember my cousins would arrange tractors to make sure, we avoid load shedding, and use batteries to watch a cricket match. Cricket was an event for me. I was born in 96. I’m pretty sure I spend my first 5 years, of the unconscious state of mind, in front of the TV on match day, that developed my passion for cricket. I still remember watching 2003 world cup matches with a star-studded Pakistani team.
Anyone who has seen that era knows that heart of fans literally used to be in a state of bullet train by watching Pakistani fast bowling. The charisma of Wasim, Waqar, and Shoaib was beyond imagination. The powerful display of Inzi and the delicious stroke play of Yousaf and Saeed Anwar was a treat to watch. Then there is a period of 2005/06 when we watched the best of Shahid Afridi and Yousuf. Afridi’s devastating batting by opening the inning s and Yousaf’s guaranteed hundred in the middle order made us a team to watch.
I would not glorify them to an extent that as if they were unbeatable. They lost, they lost poorly too but we stuck with them. They were heroes, we kept them heroes, and when it was there time they won our hearts. This new audience of the t20 age has seen nothing, yet they behave as if they are the expert of cricket. A single bad day makes them emotional and they take on players through social media. I wonder what they have sacrificed for this team? People who have seen the golden period of Pakistan cricket, know that ups and downs are part and parcel of sports. We need to respect the team that creates moments of pleasure for us.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.