In the ABN AMRO T20 Cup of 2006, Sialkot beat Karachi in Karachi and Imran Nazir, who captained the Sialkot Stallions at that time, remarked in the end that, “The way Karachi crowd supported us was brilliant and they were supporting us more than their home team”.
In the RBS T20 Cup of 2010, I saw a different Karachi crowd. Sialkot and Karachi squared off again today in the RBS Cup 2nd semi final and after watching the crowd behaviour and biased commentary from the majority-Karachiite commentary team, I wanted Sialkot to win. So shocked was I at this behaviour from the crowd and the commentary team that I felt like writing this thread.
- National Stadium Karachi- a ground that deserves a better crowd
Shahid Afridi is revered in Karachi and one can expect this because it is his home city. The crowd chants his name as he comes into bat. However it was disappointing to see how after Afridi’s dismissal, something was thrown at a Sialkot fielder who complained to the umpire and play was held up for a few minutes. It seemed as though the commentators ignored this incident. Adoring Shahid Afridi does not mean other players should be victimised. Afridi seemed to enjoy the attention and in the end when the prizes were given for best fielder, most 4 hitter and most 6 hitter, Afridi won the latter prize. Yet, the Karachiite presenter only called Afridi on the stage to exchange a few words and did not have the courtesy to invite Imran Nazir and Shahid Yousaf for a brief interview. Why this discrimination? Afridi rubbed salt on the wounds by stating, “This is my home ground so I play more aggressively in front of my home crowd”.
- Why did the Karachi crowd have to victimise the Sialkot players if they love Afridi?
The Sialkot players looked uncomfortable, especially due to the unpleasant incident after Afridi’s dismissal. In fact from memory the Karachi crowd has been controversial. I recall as a kid my family never allowed me to attend the National Stadium to watch matches because of the pathetic crowd that was expected. Mohammad Asif appeared bitter when he came onto the stage to discuss the match when he was pronounced Man of the Match.
- Asif appeared uncomfortable and bitter in the post-match ceremony
Pakistan is going through its most turbulent phase since its creation and this kind of one-sided crowd behaviour and favoritism is not going to unify the countrymen. A spade has to be called a spade and unlike other blogs, Legslip criticises everyone and gives everyone their due, regardless of their ethnic or provincial background. That is why Legslip is a unique cricket blog. You will not find this unbiased reporting on any other Pakistani cricket blog.
- Is Karachi going forwards or backwards?
Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city, is considered to have the lion’s share of the country’s ethnic Urdu Speakers. It is also considered to have more Punjabis than Lahore and more Pathans than Peshawar. Yet, this crowd today did not seem to represent Pakistan. It represented a biased mindset, disorder, hostility- everything that is dangerous to the peace and prosperity of the city and the country, too.
- The people of Karachi
Karachi is the most developed city in Pakistan and its people are most sophisticated and educated. They need to remain this way because their behaviour today left a bad taste in the mouth. It seemed almost that the Sialkot players were not playing in Pakistan, but in India. I was pleased with the match result in the end as Sialkot won, although as always I was in awe of a fantastic and near match winning effort by Fawad Alam. From the Karachi team I like Afridi, Alam, Sohail Khan and Shahzaib Hasan, yet from the Sialkot team I only like Imran Nazir. However halfway during the match I was backing Sialkot to win, and now I hope they beat Faisalabad tomorrow and become the champions yet again. Go Sialkot.
- Legslip is backing Sialkot to win the RBS T20 Cup