LAHORE, February 14, 2012 ― Call it a green-sweep or a spin-wash, team Pakistan reinstated the honor of a cricket-loving nation with a 3-0 whitewash of the world’s no. 1 cricket team in a series concluding on 6th February 2012. This historic win is more than a title that green caps are bringing home. It provides a reason to celebrate the redemption of country’s pride.
The 2010 spot fixing fiasco and the subsequent trial of three Pakistani cricketers proved detrimental for Pakistan’s cricket in particular and country’s image in general. Such a disgrace was quite hard to absorb for cricket fans in Pakistan who waited for a year-and-a-half to regain pride and dignity with this enormous win.
Although there were a number of incredible individual performances, the series continued to be a saga of camaraderie and unity. Along with witnessing the deadly doosras and the tricky teesras of our always-grinning off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman’s slow left-arm orthodox bowling style also remained a treat for eyes. Spinners’ duo of Ajmal and Rehman dominated the whole series and kept the English batsmen on their toes with their mind-boggling bowling. They took 24 and 19 wickets respectively. Umar Gul’s terrific fast bowling was no less than any world-class fast bowler and harked back to the earth-shaking run-ups of Pakistan’s legendary fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.
As far as Pakistan’s batting side is concerned, Younis Khan continued to perform as a dependable batsman whereas Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq emerged as the scoreboard’s favorites with their unwavering and game-changing innings. In addition, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq also deserves admiration for putting together his teammates’ strengths and getting their best.
By winning the third test, Pakistan has also become the first team to win a test after being bowled out for under 100 in the last 105 years. In 1907, England beat South Africa after being shot out for 76. Overall, it was England’s seventh series whitewash and their first by the team of Pakistan, whereas Pakistan’s team has whitewashed five series with a last 3-0 win over Bangladesh in 2003.
In addition, a team that was going through immense criticism for spot fixing scandals and hard-hit by the dressing room politics had become the laughing stock for cynical critics until it first became the 2011 World Cup’s semi-finalist under the captaincy of Shahid Afridi. The clean-sweep against England further raised its status. Pakistanis in specific and the world at large should take inspiration from such teamwork and the resulting triumph as it perfectly analogizes how an individual, a nation or a society can show perseverance and resilience in the hardest possible times.
Pakistan also previously suffered from the 3rd March 2009 attack of a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricket team near the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore by 12 gunmen. As a consequence, international cricket had shut its doors for the Pakistani stadiums leaving a generation of cricketers deprived of playing in their home grounds in front of their home crowd. Above and beyond, a generation of cricket fanatics is ardently waiting for traversing the enclosures of Gaddafi Stadium Lahore, Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium and National Stadium Karachi, cheering up their team, holding and waving attention-grabbing placards and chanting slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Boom Boom Afridi’. However, the much anticipated series with Bangladesh on Pakistani cricket grounds in April 2012 may prove helpful in paving the way for international cricket in Pakistan and bringing back the departed love interest of the nation.
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