By: Gulrukh Tausif
Over the past few weeks, there have been battles in my home that I have been happy to lose.
In fact I have colluded with the rebels, sat alongside them and cheered as loudly as they had. You see, school or no school, my children refused to go to bed early and insisted on watching each and every match of the second edition of the Pakistan Super League.
The PSL matches may have been played in Dubai and Sharjah cricket grounds but every towering six, every elegant cover drive and every wicket was being cheered and celebrated wherever beats a Pakistani heart, my home included.
As a mother, there could be no greater joy than to see my children so pumped up, with Pakistani flag draped across their shoulders letting out blood curling whoops, heartfelt groans and yodeling alongside their friends whenever a wicket fell or the ball was dispatched towards the boundary line.
There is no doubt that PSL has given us thrill, excitement, and fierce pride in our own green and white flag. With over 250 sixes and almost 300 wickets in 24 matches, there has been plenty to enjoy. And then amid all the excitement, came the brouhaha about the PSL final taking place in Lahore.
As a passionate, emotional and vociferous nation, each of us had something to say about it and we insisted on saying it. And for some time, it seemed as if the sport that unites our hearts and souls might rip us apart. The opinion seemed to be divided and with each passing day discussions became more and more acrimonious.
However, it is a fact that uncertain times test the resilience, will and character of an individual as well as a nation. Trials and tribulations take measure of our moral character, mental toughness and our capacity to learn, think and grow. They also give us a new level of awareness of what we are capable of.
The higher-ups in the Pakistan Cricket Board may have taken the decision to hold the PSL final in Lahore, but the people of Pakistan also made a choice. We chose to be excited about the final taking place on our soil, not because it was easy or because of prevalence of perfect conditions but in spite of all the problems that we face. We chose to shake off despair and refused to cow down to fear of terrorism.
We chose to unite in our admiration for Sir Vivian Richards, in our respect for Misbah-ul-Haq, in our love for Lala, in our support for Sarfraz Ahmed and in our fascination with Kevin Pieterson.
We chose to applaud Darren Sammy’s leadership and imaginary selfies with his team mates, to be wowed by Pollard’s hitting prowess and to forgive Chris Gayle for his unpredictable performance. We chose to enjoy the nail-biting encounters, Danny Morrison’s antics and Ramiz Raja’s wit in the commentary box with his fellow commentators.
We chose to put all our weight behind PCB, to stand in long queues to buy tickets for the final, to cheer and support our favourite stars, in fact all of them. With PSL we have chosen to be proud, to be passionate and to be patriotic rather than indulge in pessimism. In short, we have chosen to prove all naysayers, all our detractors and our enemies wrong.
But as we celebrate the success of PSL, we also need to make a commitment that we owe to our homeland. We have to promote a positive image of our country to the world. It is not as if things are very hunky dory in other parts of the globe yet foreign players refused to come to Pakistan.
I feel that the onus is on us to prove to be a passionate advocate and ambassadors par excellence for Pakistan. Whether as a student studying in Australia, a visitor to Europe, a part of delegation to US, an immigrant to Middle East , whether we are online on social media or travelling abroad, we have to promote ourselves as a nation that is united, tolerant and law abiding. With our character, speech and manners we have to prove that we are patriotic, hospitable and free of bigotry.
As Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi locked horns in the closing match, it did not really matter which team emerged victorious. In the end, it is actually Pakistan, the game of cricket and the adoring fans of the sport that have actually won.
Like all good things, the second edition of PSL has also come to an end. But fans, including my own munchkins, can’t wait for the third edition to take place. We pray that more and more matches will be played on Pakistan soil in the future with foreign players having no qualms about coming here.
Insha’Allah khail phir jamay ga!
Story first published: 6th March 2017