Indian soap operas took the world by storm about 10 years ago and since then, they have shown no signs of stopping. Their demonstration of lavish sets, catharsis based around blood relations, turbulent love stories and family politics has changed the face of Asian entertainment. Indians, Pakistanis and Bengalis sit glued to their TV sets everyday, keen on knowing the progress of a relationship between 2 lovers, or a dispute between the mother in law and her daughter in law, or the nefarious motives of the villainous element of a family.
One of the features of these dramas is that a lot of their titles start with a “K”, as the producers believe it brings good fortune to them, a thought influenced by some tenet of Hindu spirituality. So, we decided to start this thread title with a “K”, hoping that it will bring good fortune to Pakistan cricket.
Pakistan cricket is not any less than an Indian soap opera, and the latest drama created by Ijaz Butt, Younis Khan and the revolting players in the team proves this. Younis Khan, called “Drama Khan” recently by Javed A Khan, has disappointed many of his fans firstly by his slipshod batting in ODI’s recently. Secondly, Younis Khan, troubled by the not-so-secret rebellion in the team and the pressure of playing in a high profile tournament such as the Champions Trophy, offered his resignation on the pretext that he was upset by match fixing allegations and “other matters” (these thought to be the certain dissenting players in the team).
Sure, it is accepted Younis Khan is a man of honour. But match fixing allegations have been part and parcel of Pakistan cricket since time immemorial. Younis could have condemned these accusations in strongest possible terms in front of Jamshed Khan Dasti, but the fact that he resigned made his reaction appear as extreme as the accusations that were levelled against his men. Younis received the sympathy of the nation and was reinstated as captain, however critics were right in predicting that this episode would divert attention away from Younis’s failure as a batsman and captain in the Champions Trophy.
Ijaz Butt is the comedian of Pakistan cricket and it is a wonder he is still Chairman of the PCB after repeated failures. Ijaz
Butt’s standard of incompetence can be discerned from his unwillingness to sack Malik as captain just before Younis was appointed as captain (it took a Presidential order to convince Butt to remove Malik as captain). Also, recently Butt gave a statement that the English media should focus more on county cricket performances of Pakistanis. Butt gave Kaneria’s example to say that Kaneria has been ripping through line ups, and PCB should get the credit for these performances. However, maybe Butt should realise that even mediocre players like Yasir Arafat have been performing commendably in county cricket and international cricket is very different. If the PCB Chairman is going to make stupid statements like that, what will the world think of Pakistan and PCB? How long do we have to tolerate this incompetent, uncouth and uneducated man as the Chairman? The Pakistan Senate has already predicated that it seems Butt never went to college because he is running the PCB like a grocery shop.
There are villains in this Drama, too. Malik, Misbah and Akmal are playing politics apparently. As always, no direct names have been mentioned; there are only rumours and controversies. Yet it seems fishy Younis has openly stated that certain players have reservations with this captaincy and that there is some kind of disunity. In dramas and movies you see the villains perishing sooner or later, yet in this Drama, Malik and Akmal are still there in the team, vitiating team morale and almost encouraging mediocrity. It is sad jealousy and bias based around regionalism still affects the team after Pakistan as a country and as a cricket team has lost so much because of it. But, that is how it works in Pakastan.
Speaking of regionalism, the reaction of the Karachi lobby to Younis Khan’s resignation was extreme and unprecedented. The Karachi lobby was instrumental in the sacking of Malik and appointment of Younis Khan as captain, and it is thought the lobby also wants Afridi as the next captain of the Pakistan team. The anti-Punjab stance of this lobby is worrying although it is submitted that its intentions are to weaken regional influence in team selection.
Afridi is also playing a little drama of his own. For some reason Afridi has decided to temporarily quit Test cricket at a time when he is batting more sensibly than ever and his bowling has significantly matured. What has caused Afridi to make this ridiculous decision? Test cricket is dying in Pakistan and Afridi could have been an asset for the team.
Pakistan is the laughing stock of world cricket and this Drama must now end. The Chairman needs to go, the elements playing politics need to be removed. Malik needs to be sacked anyway because playing him means accepting mediocrity. Malik has recently given an interview saying that he will be selected for Pakistan’s next Test assignment. This is shocking considering that he is one of the reasons why Pakistan is considered a mediocre Test team. Younis Khan is unstable and unpredictable and a person of his temperament must not be captain. Now he wants to play T20 cricket again although earlier this year he was adamant T20 is not for him. Younis should set an example and retire from ODI cricket. Pakistan is pinning hopes on Shahid Afridi to lead the team and weed out mediocre players.