Posted by: tootingtrumpet | February 23, 2009

Welcoming Back a Brother

mahela1The family of Test playing nations, like all families, has spats and rows, sibling rivalries and alliances forming and splitting. United by a common culture and a shared history, such matters are overcome and families return to their happy bickering. But when a brother has been away too long, it is a great joy when they return to the fold. After going through the whole of 2008 without playing a Test, Pakistan is back and in Karachi too.

Test cricket being an unforgiving game, the hard man with the calm exterior of the Bhuddist, Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, is seeking to end his captaincy stint with a crushing victory. He has accomplished the first part of that objective, principally through his own efforts and those of Thilan Samaraweera in a partnership of 437, Test cricket’s highest for the fourth wicket. Pakistan closed a mere 600 runs behind with one wicket already down and Younis Khan required to play a captain’s innings on the morrow. Even that is unlikely to save Pakistan, since the Lankans’ experience (587 caps to 246) will surely tell.

The bigger picture is the important one. These two sources of huge cricketing talents are playing each other at the Greatest of Games in defiance of the violent factions who would destroy their countries from the inside out. As cricket fans, we acknowledge that background and reach out to our brothers in diffcult times. We must hope that our boards and players do likewise.

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Responses

  1. Tootingtrumpet:

    Thanks a lot for your kind sentiments, Pakistan Cricket is going through a slow death, lack of international cricket is not allowing us to develop fresh talent and cricket as a game is losing its popularity in Pakistan, unfortunately the situation is not going to get any better any soon, we will have to play on neutral venues to keep cricket alive in the country.

  2. Wasim – Sadly, I believe you are right.

    I do hope the first and second generation British Pakistanis are out in force for the T20 World Cup in May. I’ll be at The Oval for Eng vs Pak, shouting for England, but hoping that Pak show their talents.

  3. Hear hear.

  4. Beautifully expressed Toots and an important counterpoint to the cynicism surrounding Pakistan. It truly is an honour and a blessing to share this page with a man of your compassion and intellect. Thank you and congratulations on a sterling piece.

  5. Great piece

  6. Guys – You’ll have me blushing like an Oscar winner!

  7. Captain’s knock from Younis on an easy pitch, but under enormous pressure.

  8. It was an excellent innings and enough to save the match even with another 150 to avoid the follow on.

  9. you guys are really refreshing – in the sarcastic at best, and venemous at worst world of blogging, you always have really heartfelt and genuine sentiments.

    you guys, along with jrod’s revelation that pakistan was his second favourite team, make me wish that cricket fans were in charge of our nation’s publicity, rather than brain-washed american media pundits

    :)

  10. karachi – Thanks. Anyone with a love of the game wants to see Pakistan back and playing well.

    Over the years Pakistan and England haven’t seen eye to eye on the cricket field, but I doubt that any of those events spill over into animosity towards the team and its players.

    How about this as a composite XI of entertaining and dazzling cricketers?

    Saeed Anwar
    Mudassar Nazar (to make the others look even more dashing!)
    Zaheer Abbas
    Inzamam
    Younis Khan
    Imran Khan
    Kamran Akmal
    Wasim Akram
    Abdul Qadir
    Waqar Younis
    Shoaib Akhtar

    They might win by an innings and they might lose by an innings, but what fun it would be!

  11. @TTT:
    Before you get swamped by the responses, may I kindly point out that you’ve left out Javed Miandad.
    Cheers.

  12. Ravi – that shows the danger of relying on faulty memory! Thanks.

    I guess he’d come in for Younis, but I do like the current captain. The young Javed could do Inzy’s fielding for him as well as his own!

  13. Well said TT.

    Wasim, it’s getting better all the time.

  14. kamran akmal in a team of dazzling cricketers?

  15. nik – Kamran Akmal has played a few astonishing innings, but I couldn’t think of many dazzling Pakistan keepers.

  16. Younis has batted magnificently for the team in building three big partnerships to save the match. He should now bat for himself and focus on Lara’s records. Good luck to him.

  17. I have mixed feelings about Younis passing Lara’s record in the circumstances.

    It would give some much needed pride to Pakistani cricket, however, this match is so dead that it will garner little respect.

    Obviously, it is already a remarkable effort by Younis but I have a suspicion that Mahela might just keep bowling Sangakarra and co. and rest his real bowlers for the next Test in Lahore in less than a week thereby gifting Younis 500 if he wants it.

    There was a time when a draw was certain that the captains shook hands and agreed to a stalemate. No more with TV schedules to fulfil but it must be said that the overall standard of cricket displayed in this match when compared to recent matches in Australia, India and the Caribbean has been second rate.

  18. I can see your mixed feelings Nesta and Lara vs Younis is already going strong at guardian.co.uk.

    I’d suggest that the game is dead through the herculean efforts of Younis. The next highest score in his team is 57. He has earned the right to some cheapish runs tomorrow and I hope he gets them.

    We shouldn’t forget that Lara’s 400 included a bit of indulgence on his part in delaying a declaration as the card shows – http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/statsguru/engine/match/64080.html. That wasn’t a Test of high cricketing standards either.

  19. Toots, I wrote about mixed feelings immediately after stumps and I guess I was a touch disappointed that Pakistan and Younis in particular didn’t push the match along after passing the follow-on.

    I understand that there was little chance of a result but I would prefer to see some attacking and entertaining cricket played when there is nothing to lose.

    If Younis passes 400 he thoroughly deserves the record regardless of the pitch and the poor bowling, I just hope he scores quickly as this Test is perhaps the worst advertisement for Test match cricket I’ve watched in years.

    It is possible to score massively without being selfish as this monster innings, the highest in a completed match, clearly illustrates.

  20. a great piece as always tooting. sri lanka has destroyed it self from the inside and mahelas resignation is nothing but a bi product of the media witch hunt that was launched by one paper in particular regarding the whole IPL and english tour debacle.

    its good to see test cricket being played in pakistan, another large dent in the belief that playing cricket in pakistan is not safe. as several bloggers have pointed out, both umpires, aussies have had no reservations about flying into pakistan amidst all this mumbo jumbo about it being unsafe for ‘whites.’

  21. 313 can’t be a disappointing score, but I bet it feels like that.

    Nesta – had Younis spent nearly 14 hours batting in the first innings, I would agree, but faced with 644, his role must be to secure the draw and hope for a victory in the next Test.

  22. Nice sentiment and nicely expressed too. Indeed cricket is almost a religion in the sub continent with some great cricketing heroes born in India, Pakistan and SriLanka.


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