Thursday, March 31, 2011

MY ROMANCE FOR CRICKET IS OVER!

When Green Shirts’ Efficiency turns into Deficiency

By Mahtab Bashir
mahtabbashir@gmail.com
Islamabad

The excitement and plans to celebrate the result of the second semi-final vanished with the defeat of Pakistani team at the hands of India on Wednesday (March 30), however, at the mid way through when Indians posted 260, the youngsters look optimistic- ‘Yes we will jump over the chest of Indians this time’!

With the start of the second innings in the match, the Federal Capital started giving a festive look as cricket lovers wearing green T-shirts and faces painted with the flags came to the roads on their motorbikes and cars.

The young and the old gathered around giant screens placed at various points in Islamabad. They cheered in excitement when a player hit a four or faced a fierce delivery. Whenever an Indian wicket fell people jumped and danced in jubilation and fired gunshots in the air.

Fatima Jinnah Park drew the largest crowd where a large screen was installed. The other gathering was witnessed in front of the Islamabad Stock Exchange building, F-10 Markaz, National Press Club (NPC) and Jinnah Super Market (F-7)- where I enjoyed the first innings thoroughly!! However, after the match ended, signs of gloom were visible on the faces of youngsters returning back on their vehicles only waving Pakistani flags but not raising any slogan.

Earlier, in the day the otherwise bustling and noisy Islamabad wore a deserted look with traffic off the road, shutters down in markets and cricket lovers confining themselves to their homes. However, in the evening youngsters wearing green shirts and faces painted came out in their vehicles showing victory signs, bringing the hustle and bustle back to the city.

The road celebrations kicked off the moment the Indian inning was over giving a meager target of 261 to chase. Many youngsters around me were very optimistic and in a fluster opined, “This total posting on the board is nothing especially on Mohali track. We will do it easily, all we need is a flying opening start of 50+ runs or a good 70+ partnership,” said Hamza to me, and I agreed with him.

As the second innings starts, we were exhausted and instead of spending time at Jinnah Super, we opted to go home leaving other boys there, who were with us and lost somewhere enjoying. We didn’t bother them and went back home where I found my dream torn into pieces.

The infuriating wait for the titanic India-Pakistan clash ended in anti-climax for the fans in green as India shattered Pakistan’s hopes for a 2011 World Cup final appearance courtesy a nervy 29-run win watched by thousands inside the stadium and billions in front of their television sets.

Apology accepted ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ but if I chanced to interview you, ‘What makes you delay to capitalize the Power Play, when u was on the crease’, would be my first and last question!

Pakistan Zindabad!

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