BY ALI NAQVI –
The World Cup dream is alive for Pakistan. Sarfazra Ahmed has done what was not expected of him; winning under pressure against the top team of the tournament. It was good to watch Pakistan bowling and batting with aggression and discipline and taking the catches.
At the start of the event when Pakistan lost to West Indies, won against England and the match against Sri Lanka was washed out, most of us saw the likeness of this sequence of events with the 1992 World Cup. But surprisingly we lost the next two matches as we did in 1992, and repeating history once again went on to win the next two.
People who closely follow cricket are able to see more similarities between the two events separated by almost three decades. One wonders what Pakistanis would have thought about Imran Khan in 1992 as the team had performed as inconsistently as Sarfaraz Ahmed Eleven is doing now. Sarfaraz Ahmed came under heavy media and social media pressure after the team lost to India. It would be interesting to know how the national media evaluated the performance of Imran Khan as captain in 1992. Luckily for him there was no social media then, otherwise things would have been different. It could have affected the morale of the team.
Before the match against South Africa, the morale of the team was zero. There was no support for the team anywhere. On every platform questions were raised about the selection of the team and the position of Sarfaraz as captain. We left no stone unturned in shattering the spirit of the team. There were even personal attacks on some of the players. Standing your ground in such a situation and fighting back is a great achievement for Sarfaraz Ahmed as captain.
We know there had been issues within the team. It had problems playing as a unit. The team has shown character, strength and determination against South Africa and New Zealand. The captain and the team management deserve some credit in unifying the team and showing the spirit that made the difference.
Pakistan has now the momentum going in its favor. The spirits are high. The next two matches are comparatively easier to win. Pakistan can qualify for the Semi-final. The team has all the potential to reach the final and repeat history. The only question is, can Pakistan hold its nerve and play as a united team? If they do, will Sarfaraz Ahmed be the next Imran Khan? Will his stature be as high as Khan? Will he dream to become the future Prime Minister of Pakistan?