Wed August 23, 2017
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Editorial

June 19, 2017

Share

Advertisement

Champions

Champions

When Pakistan was thrashed by India in its opening match of the Champions Trophy, the obituaries were already being written. But if there is one thing you can say about the Pakistan cricket team, it is that it exists to confound everyone. The team that was the lowest ranked of the eight countries in the tournament went on a tear, winning successive games against South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and then – most gloriously – India in the final. We have now completed the full set of international trophies and in the process lifted a nation that desperately needed some good news. After a long wait, after many ups and downs, Pakistan as a nation once again saw how quickly, how decisively and how joyously cricket can bring the country together, uniting people across class, ethnicity, gender and every other divide. The joy we saw on Sunday night as Pakistan lifted the ICC Champions Trophy for the first time was spontaneous and blazed through the very heart of the country as only genuine sentiment can. This was one of Pakistan’s most important cricketing victories with the team led by Sarfaraz Ahmed crushing India, the favourites, by 180 runs after posting a first innings score of 338 for 4 – the highest ever total in the ICC Champions Trophy. The two heroes for Pakistan were two of the most unheralded players in the team. Opener Fakhar Zaman only made his international debut in the second match of the tournament. He proceeded to score two half centuries and then a magnificent century in the final which knocked the stuffing out of the India team. The player of the tournament was pacer Hassan Ali, who ended up as the highest wicket-taker with 13 wickets and, entirely appropriately, took the final wicket as well. But this was a team effort, with everyone chipping in to do their bit and by the final even our much-maligned fielding had gone to a new level.

To put the magnitude of the Champions Trophy victory into perspective, keep in mind that Pakistan has not been able to play at home for nearly a decade, depriving the board of revenue, players of practise and fans of the opportunity to see its heroes in the flesh. Despite that, since Pakistan’s international exile we have managed to win a T20 World Cup, reach number one in the Test rankings and now added the Champions Trophy to the haul. There were many who thought the retirement of stalwarts Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan would derail the team but new ODI captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was a picture of calm throughout. The team got better as the tournament progressed and got its dream final after England were coolly dispatched in the semi final. Pakistan then posted 338, one of our highest totals in ODI and then Mohammed Aamir ripped the heart out of the Indian batting line-up with three quick wickets. After that victory was assured and we clinically got the job done. The many structural problems that plague Pakistan cricket still exist but now is a time for celebration. That a cricket team that has had to struggle so much in so many ways somehow manages to produce some of the most unexpected wins is why we love this team so much and stick with it through everything. The spirit at the Oval too was excellent, and sport has once more demonstrated how it can overcome all else and raise spirits and inspire hope within an entire nation.

 

Advertisement

Comments

Advertisement

Topstory

Opinion

Newspost

Editorial

National

World

Sports

Business

Karachi

Lahore

Islamabad

Peshawar

Advertisement