February has traditionally been about Valentine’s Day in Pakistan (like the rest of the world) and more recently about Literary Festival in Karachi and Lahore. But not anymore! Henceforth, this is going to be the month of Pakistan Super League (PSL). Some would say it is not that big a deal. However, for a Pakistani,...
February has traditionally been about Valentine’s Day in Pakistan (like the rest of the world) and more recently about Literary Festival in Karachi and Lahore. But not anymore! Henceforth, this is going to be the month of Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Some would say it is not that big a deal. However, for a Pakistani, it is a matter of national pride and the sense of ownership exhibited towards PSL has convinced many to call it unprecedented. It almost seemed an unachievable goal. Messages by international players on social media pledging their support for PSL failed to impress the cricket spectators in Pakistan. Security concerns and event being organised on foreign soil overshadowed the possibility of its success. It was considered impossible to finance the event, organise it in UAE and sponsor foreign players. But local business franchises came forth, biddings were held and international players would now play for Pakistan. All the doubts were brushed away as the first ball was bowled on the pitch of Dubai International Stadium. PSL has officially kicked off!
Every moment of this tournament is memorable, starting with Chris Gayle performing to Lahore Qalandars’ anthem as his team walked out on the field during the star studded opening ceremony. And it wasn’t his signature Gangnam moves but the Lahori Bhangra. He was enjoying himself and with him the entire nation- something we had quiet forgotten. The anthems of other teams are equally catchy. Ali Azmat’s heavy metallic score, ‘Karachi! Karachi! Karachi…!’ pumps up the blood, and despite being a Lahori, is my favourite. Fakhir’s very traditional number for Quetta Gladiators not only promotes the team spirit but Balochistan’s rich culture and music. Similarly, ‘Zalmi’ rightly points towards the fighting spirit of KPK representative team, Peshawar Zalmi. And finally, Islamabad United’s anthem truly unites the spirit of national pride and cricket craze that Pakistan is all about.
As the teams come face to face, it is probably the best time for Karachi and Lahore to settle their conventional rivalry that ranges from food to fashion, politics to entertainment and from weather to recreation. And we did see finality to this war when Karachi Kings beat Lahore Qalandars and social media fired up with Karachiites bashing Lahoris. A clear winner! It is ironic though that captain of KK, Shoaib Malik hails from Sialkot, Punjab and best performer of his team Mohammed Amir is also from Punjab. In a single match Karachi-Lahore face off reached the level of India-Pakistan match.
This fan rivalry is acceptable and to an extent enjoyable but not cheerleaders. And thank God we don’t see any in PSL! Instead of rented applause, we have our local actors and actresses camped in Dubai, cheering for teams they are supporting. Anwar Maqsood’s witty presence taking a ‘selfie’ with other celebrities and cheering for a team was priceless.
This tournament however is not only about competition. Green shirts have been deprived of opportunities to learn and grow far too long. PSL is the beginning of learning new techniques and polishing talent of old and new Pakistani players alike.
Most importantly, at the end of the day, whichever team wins, it will be a win for Pakistan!