Thursday, 15 June 2017

The big final review - 18 June/ 22-23 Ramadan

Hindu is really getting out of his skin and unable to control his little vanity.
During India Bangla semi final at Edgbaston few placards hoisted by Indian supporters read that 18th June is Father's Day & if Pakistan is playing against India..everyone knows what that means. 
Although there is no need to rile up to such nonsense. However, before seeing those stupid remarks, being a cricket fan, it was mesmerizing to see Indian batting against Bangladesh. And I was wondering, on cricketing merits, how can any team in the world beat current Indian team?. But those insolent remarks on father's day sparked a new flare. Indignant mind was compelled to put the scenario in to the context. It also gave a strong reason to reconsider that if Pakistan has made it this far, it is a matter of another 7/8 hours of good cricket to rid ourselves of that jinx of ICC competitions against India.
This Champions Trophy, Pakistan showed up a different team every match and they got better with every game. In the last game against England, our batting also clicked. If this pattern continues and an even better team than semi finals shows up at the Oval, then as they say, every thing is possible in cricket specially when Pakistan is on song.
India as a team carries more experience and exposure to high pressure games, whereas Pakistan has youthful fearlessness of Fakhars, Fahims and Rummans. Our bowling is better than India & their batting is better than ours. Level of Pakistan fielding has improved as the tournament progressed. However, since WC quarter finals 2011 against India, Pakistan has dropped catches in big games against them which consistently caused our demise. One can only hope they hold on to their catches this time around. As far as captains are concerned, Sarfraz is a spirited captain like Kohli. Both are comparatively new on the job. However, Indian batting has not been tested, likewise, Kohli's captaincy has not come under real pressure and if it does in final, it needs to be seen how he responds to it. A very neutral opinion is that Kohli is not at par with MS Dohni when it comes to subtleties of captaincy skills.
Despite Kohli's repeated statements that its just another game, its a high pressure game and the team which gets less excited on the day will carry the day. Besides, it is time that we nail India for a change.
Lastly, there should be some comparison of their omen of father's day against our omen of Ramadan. 18th June may be Father's Day which has little or no significance for us because all 365 days are parents' day. What Hindus are not aware of is that 18th June is 22/23 Ramadan as well which is a revered day followed by powerful night. Who knows India ends up asking the same question which other teams who faced Pakistan asked, 'Who is Ramadan?'

Wishing Team Pakistan success.
Only Allah knows the whole truth.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

RIP - Pakistan Cricket

Few hours from Pakistan South Africa's ODI game of ICC Champions Trophy (on 7 June 17) and for the first time it does not feel betrayal to wish them lose. Because it is established that we are a second rate team in world cricket today. We just scraped through at 8th spot to make it in to this competition & our presence in future global events may be conditional with play offs. So we are almost rock bottom. Any success at this point and the most inept administration of PCB will try to get un-due credit in order to prolong their pathetic stay at the helm of cricketing affairs in Pakistan. However, tomorrow Pakistan is up against seasoned chokers and this might be their moment to choke. For this game, we hope South Africans do not choke. Besides how bad a Mercedes has to perform to stay behind a Mehran. We used to have respectful status among cricketing nations. But then again how could cricket escape the curse of mediocrity when entire nation suffers from it. It seems we have lost it all. Our cricket is like a rudderless ship destined to wreck. We do not associate any value to stats. We keep playing shehzads, hafeezs & wahabs. Same results each time. If this is the best we've got then our best is below par. We don't even want to learn from our mistakes.
Indians had poor record against Pakistan but before 4 June Pak-India game, it was obvious from body language of Indian Team that they attached little or no value to game against Pakistan. Kohli arrogantly mentioned many a times that it was just another game for them. And why should they not behave like this? Where do we stand in terms of talent & management? Do we have one reliable player in the top order? Any player who can get the team across finish line? Anyone close to the class of AB, Root, Smith, Kohli or Williamson. They must be aplenty in this cricket crazy nation but why are they not coming through? It is the cancerous mediocrity which is not letting gifted raw talent to pull through.
Our cricket has taken a nose dive. And its standards continue to plummet. For once I wish them to lose so that it is clear to everyone that we couldn't fall any further.  So that we get rid of this mafia running PCB.
Inability to host international cricket is not enough reason to justify our sliding graph in the game. Was there plenty of international cricket in 1950s when young Pakistani Team made impact at the Home of Cricket. Not having international cricket at home is a diplomatic & management failure. Nearly, a decade now but that jinx of Sri Lankan Team bus incident at Lahore is still haunting us. Just this week, three major terror attacks took place in UK and a global event of ICC continues with full flurry. It definitely has to do with double standards of ICC but it also goes to show extremely good management of ECB that the event progresses uninterrupted.
Even, so far PSL has done more harm to Pakistan Cricket than good. PSL has been a successful business venture. When you do sport as business, it flourishes in money but spoils the sport and turns it in to a commercial commodity. Loads of money & loads of scandals. As long as Pakistan cricket remains hostage to 'queer' Mr Sethi who is well versed in media gimmicks to take along cricket, media, politics & business all together, future of cricket in this country looks bleak. We wish these leeches may one day die of over drinking Pakistan's blood.
It was very hard to say this but, 'RIP Pakistan Cricket'. After this sad demise, may Pakistan Cricket get a new life to at least remain a respectable cricketing nation.

Monday, 5 June 2017

London attacks and response

Following horrific London terror attacks on TV today (on morning of 4 June 2017), I couldn't help notice the reaction time of London emergency services. From initial reporting at 2208 hours, 'a vehicle plowing through London Bridge & Borough Market', it took London police 8 minutes to take down three attackers. This was extremely professional & thoroughly brilliant. Terrorists will always attack from behind at vulnerable spots but the mettle of a nation combating terrorism can be measured by its response to such cowardly incidents. London is the safest city in the world and this kind of police work confirms its status as such.

London Bridge 1999 with (from left) Hamza, Ahmer and Sakhawat

Reasons to write about this incident is partly nostalgic, as I had few London walks along Thames.

Partly because of my armed forces background.
And lastly, being a global citizen, I mourn equally over human loss wherever it may happen and whoever is affected by it. 

Lets relive 480 seconds (8 minutes) of brilliance and professionalism. Someone dialed 999 and floodgate of well rehearsed SOPs opened up. Everybody in emergency services seemed to have been well drilled. Everyone knew their job. London control center is linked with every node that can relay useful info on the situation. Effective command & control was possible through uninterrupted flow of information to decision makers. There was no time to wait for more accurate information to arrive. Orders for execution of the mission were to be given on the move like orders on the marching column. From within the layers of the security personnel, inner and outer cordons were to be detailed. Executioners were also earmarked to take down the terrorists. The entire area was taken over by the police. Police entered every building in proximity of Borough Market including pubs, clubs, hotels and shops. To distinguish between normal people and hostile attackers, people were asked to raise their hands above the heads and walk to the point of safety. Not to mention the secondary aspects of traffic control, administration of life saving first aid, casualty evacuation, stand by fire tenders and other security services personnel to take on any unforeseen situation. It was a classic modern day symphony played by London police using technology and grit. i have intentionally kept the narration simple for understanding of every reader but it was a complex, fluid and perfectly executed operation for which London police deserves accolades.

Wonder from where we copy our manuals these days, it would be a living bible to follow if we could just relive/ re-enact these 8 minutes in our training drills and improve our response time to such incidents. Imagine how many precious lives can be saved if we could reduce our response time and I'm saying this keeping APS Peshawar in mind.

Only Allah knows the whole truth.