Hoarse voice and beaming smile. That is how I would describe that Sunday at Lords’. Just as a reminder it was the 21st of June 2009. It was a warm day in London, the sun (a rarity) was out. Driving was a no no so the tube was the only option. Getting on at Baker street everyone was wearing green some (including yours truly) had the famous flag draped around their shoulders. An air of anxious expectation hung about. You did not know if it would be worth the effort. Some even lied about this just being a good day out. You see supporting the Pakistan cricket team and being outcome independent is at best an excercise in futility.
Mercurial as they are the boys in green are a breath of fresh air. Unorthodox flair is what closely describes these hugely talented men. Would Waqar’s toe crushers not leave you in awe? Would Inzi’s dismissive pulls to the “white lightening” not have you spell bound? It did and thanks to you tube it still does. Who can forget the game against New Zealand – Lala running towards the boundary and taking the catch before raising his arms in celebration. Those moments of genius are reserved only to the men in green. Genius that like magic leaves you yearning for more. Genius that makes you wake up in the middle of the night and sing the National Anthem at the top of your lungs whilst risking anti social behavioural compliants.
Supporting Pakistan though is not for the faint hearted. The love-hate relationship that cuts through your heart with a dropped catch and raises you to cloud number nine when the Rawalpindi Express rattles Tendulkar’s middle stump and in the process Eden Gardens into hushed silence is what dreams are made of. I suppose these men in green show us the unpredictability that life brings us.
How can I forget the winning runs and the lap of honour. How can I forget strangers hugging each other united only under one flag. How can I forget shouting at the top of my lungs “dil dil Pakistan, jaan jaan Pakistan” smiling as if I somehow had a part to play in it. All thanks to the men in green. I can say I was there when Afridi hit the winning runs. I was there when the National anthem was sung by thousands of ardent Pakistanis. I was there when Younis lifted the world cup and the spirits of the nation.
Capricious yes, but like the warm smile of an innocent child the bouncer to an Australian in Australia makes you their most ardent supporter. You love them because in some way or form they are you. They remind you that it is in those fleeting moments when life is enjoyed and that you continue working, taking on the accolades and the insults in your stride. That moving on to the next game is the only choice you have. Yes my heart aches when Pakistan looses but it equally jumps for joy when Pakistan wins. Difficult some might say but the challange is endearing nonetheless. Tum jeeto yeh haaro humain tum say pyar hai…. How difficult it is to write that down only a supporter of the Pakistan cricket team can understand!