Interview of Cricket Fans – 159 – PAKISTAN
Thank you for your participation in this interview, firstly tell us a bit about yourself as a cricket fan and your early memories of the game.
Thanks for having me Jay, it’s an absolute pleasure.
I have got this love of cricket from my elder brothers who used to follow every match. The first match I remember that I watched was the 2007 t20 world cup final and especially the last ball when Misbah lofted it to go over fine leg but caught by Harbhajan. That could have been the turning moment for Pakistan cricket but we had faced a lot tougher time afterwards.
Tell us about growing up in Pakistan with respect to this sport.
Cricket is in the blood of almost every Pakistani and it is followed like a religion in various areas of Pakistan. Cricket is the only thing that connects people of different regions. I remember that in the 2015 world cup we had to go to the school during match timings and our school’s gatekeeper had a mobile on which we used to watch some overs during break time.
This is the level of compassion and loyalty towards cricket here in Pakistan. I feel fortunate to be a cricket lover in Pakistan because this is the only sport being fully supported and respected in our country.
Thoughts on Babar Azam?
I feel that he is already a big thing in our country means number 1 in ODIs is none less than an achievement. I love watching him play and I know you also love and enjoy his batting. I’ll say that it’ll be difficult for Pakistan to find this calibre of player again in the next decade. I feel that captaincy has burdened him but he is more mature now and we’ll see more exciting innings from him. He needs to work hard on some areas where he is lacking especially power hitting and then he’ll be unstoppable.
Memories of the 2017 Champions Trophy victory that you would like to share?
2017 Champions Trophy will always be remained cherished in every Pakistani’s mind. This was a wonderful achievement with a bunch of young and inexperienced boys. It was Ramzan which is a holy month for Muslims and we were experiencing fasts which made this event special. Despite losing the opening match drastically, the comeback was phenomenal when everyone including me lost hope. Once we qualified, then it was very difficult to beat England in the semi-final but once we qualified for finals our confidence increased and the hope of trophy again rose.
Beating arch-rival in the final had made us so happy that our government had awarded players with heavy cash prizes. The atmosphere on that day was worth watching, everyone was on the streets celebrating Pakistan’s win and eagerly waiting to welcome players back at home.
Few words on Shaheen Afridi?
Shaheen Afridi has become the leader of bowling attack at such a young age. He is energetic, fierce with the potential to become number 1 in international rankings inshallah. Pakistan is known as pace factory and he is the most refined product of this factory in the last decade after Mohammad Amir who had also this type of hype in his early days.
I believe that his best time is still to come but all his fans always keep talking that his workload should be managed otherwise one injury could halt his performances. He is a valuable asset and future of Pakistan and would definitely lead the team in many more successes.
Your favourite Pakistan vs India memory?
There are many India vs Pakistan’s memories but Asia Cup 2014 match and Champions Trophy final are the best memories for me. That Afridi’s six in Asia cup and Fakhar, Amir special in CT final keeps us feeling proud always.
I know there is equal hype on both sides of the border about this match and so beating India in the final was not a small achievement. We have always been mocked for not winning against India in any World Cup match but after that champions trophy’s win we also have something to reply back. This is not just me but the whole of Pakistan would have the same favourite memory.
What can we expect from the second half of PSL?
I feel like the second half of PSL 2021 will be more interesting as we’ll see more youngsters in the action. I know some foreign players are also not available for the second leg and their replacements have been taken but that’ll be a good opportunity for youngsters to perform and make their names into headlines.
I am excited for two youngsters Qasim Akram and Muhammad Haris who have been picked for the second leg. Both had played under 19 World Cup last year and are the future of Pakistan. As the world cup is scheduled in October later this year, so PSL at this time has made this event more crucial. Every player will try his best to make his name in the world cup squad. This tournament is going to be super exciting.
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