Interview of Cricket Fans – 42
Thank you so much for your participation in this interview, share your early memories of watching Cricket? What made you fall in love with this sport?
First of all, thank you so much for having me, my earliest memory of watching cricket is Pakistan’s tour to Australia in 2000, it is very weak memory, all I can recall is watching this game on our old TV, had no clue what is happening there, that was a time when Australian stadiums had no boundary ropes, Haha!
To be honest, I don’t know what made me fall in love this sport, the only thing I can recall is watching this game since day one.
Have you been fortunate enough to watch a cricket match live in a stadium? If yes, share your experience.
Well, Pakistan cricket was truly alive till 2009, unfortunately, I couldn’t attend any game till that, then there was huge gap due to security issues, the first game I went to watch in the stadium was domestic T20 Faysal Bank game in Rawalpindi Cricket stadium. It was a fantastic experience, we were thirsty for cricket, we wanted to watch.
Then I went to a couple of more domestic games, this year, during PAK v BAN Test match at Pindi, it was my first international experience. Unbelievable, I saw Babar Azam scoring century live. Pakistanis were missing cricket, we watched it with our hearts and eyes!
Who are your favourite Pakistani Cricketers (one from past and one from the present) that have entertained you the most?
Throughout my childhood, my most favourite Pakistani cricketer was Shahid Afridi. I cannot explain in words how much I loved him. His presence on crease was happiness for me and my late mother. I have enjoyed his every six, every wicket and all above.
Current favourite is definitely Babar Azam, the goat.
Cricket is slowly returning to Pakistan, how exciting is it as a fan who has waited for years to see their stars perform at home?
It is like a dream that has come true, we waited for these moments for years. To be very honest, I still cannot believe that cricket has returned to our soil. It seems like a dream, but hats off to the PCB for bringing few teams here. Our team was missing home dominance. It’s brilliant to watch our stars playing at home.
Pakistan-India rivalry is pretty special, isn’t it? mention your favourite matches between these two.
Oh yes, Pakistan vs India, I believe it is the biggest sports rivalry in the world. I watched hundreds of INDO-PAK games, there are many favourite matches, CT 17 Final on Top, then Bangalore test 2005, CT 2009 group match, 2012 ODI series, 2005 Kanpur ODI, 2005 Delhi ODI, 2004 Golden Jubilee match. God trust me there is a list.
Apart from India, which is the other team that you enjoy watching Pakistan play?
Well, we have an unsung forgotten rivalry with Australia. I love Pakistan vs NZ games, amazing nostalgia is attached with Kiwi cricket. Then with WI, always been a tough side against Pakistan. Recently we have won many games against England in England, I love to watch Green Shirts against England.
What is it like growing up in Pakistan where Cricket is the number 1 sport in this country?
Cricket here is like religion, we have played gully cricket in our childhood like basic activity, on big games, the entire country gets jammed pack. You will find kids playing cricket in “Mohallas”, tape ball cricket is most popular. People love to talk about cricket, recently PSL is a massive development. People have favourite teams, it is the happiness of the country. It is something which unites the nation.
Suppose Pakistan tours India in the future, how do you think Babar Azam would perform in the longest format of the game? Which bowlers would he find it difficult to score runs?
Yeah, I do, Babar Azam is a sensational batsman. He would definitely perform there, Pakistani batsmen have a history of playing big knocks in India. Babar is currently more into ODI & T20 cricket but we know a tour to India can make anyone star. India has great bowling line up these days, Bumrah the world’s best. Shami is a huge wicket-taker. Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, all have been good in whites. I believe its definitely Boom Boom Bumrah!
To finish this interview, your India-Pakistan all-time XI?
Very tough to decide. Dravid was amazing against Pakistan, Sehwag scored tons, Kumble took 10 wickets, YK scored many runs but here is mine XI
MS Dhoni (C) (WK)