“But you can’t just dare to write off Pakistan by any means. These men are a different kettle of fish. They always have the element of danger. No Pakistan side will ever act accordingly to your predictions. Either they will implode or they will crush you. And above all, when the opposition is India, they will come roaring to crush mercilessly. They will display determination of the highest quality with an unimaginable spirit”
The vociferous crowd at the Eden Gardens had started to walk towards the exit doors as the home team was on the verge of digesting another humiliating defeat at the hands of their old enemy Pakistan.
In the last ball of the 48th over, Junaid Khan dished out a ripping Yorker to uproot the off-stump of Ishant Sharma to secure the ODI series with a 2-0 lead. Junaid screamed with joy amid a silent Eden Gardens.
It was chilly weather at Kolkata and hazy due to fog. But through the foggy windows of nature, my imaginative eyes witnessed the shower of flowers from the heavens, paying tribute to the enormous amount of spirit and determination of the Pakistani cricket team. Sadly, the home team lost.
Sadly, the home team were down and dusted.
But, deep down, they must pay homage to the opposing team’s strong determination which proved even stronger than them.
If I have to mention one factor which proved critical behind Pakistan’s victory over India in India then it would be the rock-solid determination.
Other than the Greenwash in the Test series against England and the Asia Cup win, Pakistan didn’t have a chummy 2012.
Especially, in the limited-overs they were found wanting due to fragile batting display or hopeless fielding.
On the other hand, on home soil, India’s record in limited-over versions have been very encouraging despite dismal performances in Test cricket. In a sense, a cricket pundit would not like to bet on Pakistan – Wasim Akram predicted a series win in favour of India.
But you can’t just dare to write off Pakistan by any means. These men are a different kettle of fish. They always have the element of danger. No Pakistan side will ever act accordingly to your predictions. Either they will implode or they will crush you. And above all, when the opposition is India, they will come roaring to crush mercilessly. They will display determination of the highest quality with an unimaginable spirit.
In the First T20I, they came back strongly after being dented earlier by a strong Indian start and rattled the Indian batting line up and they again rose to the occasion to stabilize a wrecked Pakistani ship, jolted by Bhuveneswar Kumar, with composure and notch up a thrilling win. Yuvraj proved handy in the Ahmedabad T20I but it was not enough to dent the momentum of Pakistani determination.
Through clinical performances, the men in green registered two back to back wins over the Indians in an emphatic fashion.
This Pakistani team has been different.
There was some fragility but somehow composure prevailed in a sound manner to maintain Pakistan’s staggering show on the Indian soil. Cricket experts will give various opinions regarding Pakistan’s bowling, discipline with batting and fielding and so on.
But Hafeez and Malik’s patient partnership at Bengaluru, Junaid’s consistent nippy line and length, Irfan’s guile, Gul’s energy, Kamran Akmal’s discipline behind the stumps or Nasir Jamshed’s cute willow exhibition aren’t just discipline and composure but cropped up from the determination to do well against India on Indian soil.
Nothing makes a Pakistani team more united, more focused and spirited than playing against India on Indian soil. Somehow, a bunch of wild leopards gels together to form a ferocious force to tear away anyone who comes in front of them. The crowd, the conditions or the soil which should have enlightened the Indian spirit, ended up enlightening the Pakistani spirit. They demolished their arch-rivals in grand style.
The empty stadiums in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Multan etc. aren’t sad with their emptiness. The crowd back in Pakistan is joyous. Amid political turmoils, this victory is just like fresh air for the ill-fated nation.
Well done Pakistan!