Published: 20th June 2017 04:00 AM |
Predicting the outcome of cricket matches is usually fraught with danger. Those who predicted India’s victory in the Champions Trophy final must have realised it by now. Cliched though it may sound, no wonder they call cricket a game of glorious uncertainty. More so if a certain team called Pakistan is on the field. At times, the team looks audaciously talented and dominating. Alternatively, they play like novices or are branded as ‘cheats’. Their perennial unpredictability only adds to the mystery.
This Pakistan outfit is barely a reflection of those endearing figures of yore when names like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Javed Miandad took the cricketing world by storm. One can’t even compare this with the World Cup winning team of 1992. This team is young and unknown. It’s a reflection of raw talent in a trouble-torn land where there’s been no international cricket for close to a decade. Bouncing back from a thumping loss to India in the group stages, they won the trophy showing how mentally tough they are. They have been begging for cricket at home, but that surely depends on the ICC and the prevailing security issues in the country. They must, for the time being, be happy playing opponents in their adopted ‘home’ in the Gulf.
While the cricket team was getting mauled at the Oval, elsewhere in London the Indian hockey team was pounding Pakistan with one goal after another. Eventually, the scoresheet read 7–1 but the more noticeable aspect of this game were the black bands the players sported to protest Pakistan’s “recent attack on Indian soldiers”. The hockey team has always been vocal in their support of the Indian Army. India captain P R Sreejesh even dedicated the Asian Champions Trophy title (they beat Pakistan in the final) to the soldiers who died in J&K. Whether or not it is prudent is a different matter, but sporting scenes have long been witnesses to silent protests and we should respect it as long as it doesn’t tarnish the image of the game. But it should not become be a habit.