why karachi needs to stand up for cricket

15 01 2011

Nothing makes me sadder than the hopelessness of the prospects of international cricket returning to Pakistan. But I love cricket and I refuse to give up on my team and it breaks my heart to see the ICC’s touring party watch the final of our premier domestic championship play out in front of near-empty crowds, so I’m listing 10 reasons why you need to go to the National Stadium this weekend:

1. It’s the final of Pakistan’s first-class competition, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. I know it’s hard to care about PIA vs HBL, but it’s still the best two FC teams in the country, battling it out in what seems so far to be a very competitive championship game, with some exciting fast bowling with the late orange ball under lights bringing some quick wickets near the close of play on both days. PIA 228 (1st inn) HBL 313 (1st inn) PIA 13/0 (2nd inn)

2. It’s your chance to be a part of history: this is the first time anywhere in the world that a 5-day match is being played under lights, with an ORANGE ball. There’s been talk of day-night Tests with pink balls for a while now: pink balls retain their visiblity, but lose their shape; they don’t retain their colour for 80 overs so they need to be switched from each end; it gets too cold at night in England and there are issues with the dew in the sub-continent. Pakistan – much like it throws in raw teenage fast bowlers straight into the Test side – has taken the lead in giving the orange ball a shot in the final of its major FC competition.

Danish Kaneria bowls with the orange ball

3. Dave Richardson (can you believe that the dude who kept wickets for South Africa before Boucher already has white hair?) from the ICC is in town to watch the proceedings. The ground looks beautiful, but lonely – show up, if only to be a good host and/or show off your city!

The National Stadium Karachi

4. Two of the most promising new fast bowlers, Aizaz Cheema, and Anwar Ali (yes, him of the banana swing fame from the 2007 U-19 WC final against India) are working their magic. The conditions for swing bowling make the proceedings even more watchable around sunset, just after the lights come on and a sea-breeze descends over the NSK.

5. Ex-captain, ex-husband of Ayesha Siddiqui, and the reason for much amusing Indian outrage, Shoaib Malik is playing. Maybe Sania Bhabi will even join you in the stands if you root for him.

6. You can boo Imran Farhat live! (Or cheer him, he did defy all odds and make a 100)

7. Local boy Danish Kaneria’s uniquely comic fielding will be on display.

8. Free entry. The cricket runs from 2PM to ~9:30PM, best time to go is when the lights come on, around 6PM. This weekend is Days 3 & 4.

9. It’s the perfect solution to waking up at 3am for the Wellington Test and, 8 hours later, finding there’s no more cricket to watch.

10. There were hardly any matches played in Karachi this season (one of the first of the season that I was planning on going to was cancelled because of poor security in the city), so think of this as doing your bit to support the return of cricket to your city too!

Anyway, get your butt to the National Stadium, make some noise, maybe someone will see you waving a “We miss international cricket” poster and send a club team or something to tour. It’ll be fun, I promise, and you’ll be doing a lot to help Pakistan cricket – just GO.

This plea was first published on Dawn blogs at http://blog.dawn.com/2011/01/15/chalo-chalo-nsk-chalo/

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2 responses

16 01 2011
Nabeel

I’m commenting here because I doubt you’ll respond over at the DAWN blogs!

2. Why has the PCB not advertised this?
3. It’s a vastly underappreciated ground.
4. Who’s better between the two?
6. Don’t tell me you cheered for him.
7. It’s just the way he runs…a bit like an overgrown chicken.
8. !!!!!
9. Haha,I’m sure you’ll find many diehards like yourself 😛
10. Hear hear!

5 03 2011
Sami Saayer

a chance to boo imran farhat live is every enticing. too bad i am not in karachi.
PS: aizaz cheema is pretty good. anwar is a royal waste of talent. i like bilawal bhatti better. of course, besides being a fine bowler, he is also the namesake of our future president.

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