- By Fahad Parvez
As a Pakistani cricket enthusiast now based in Canada, my journey as a fan has been a delicate dance between nostalgia and the harsh reality of the present. There was a time when my heart would race with excitement at the mere mention of a Pakistan cricket match. The green jersey symbolized pride, resilience, and the undying spirit of a nation. The echoes of victory and the roars of the crowd were music to my ears. However, as the years passed and the defeats started significantly outweighing the triumphs, a subtle but perceptible shift occurred within me – a transformation that turned my once passionate support of Pakistan cricket into a reluctant detachment.
The initial cracks in my enthusiasm began to surface with the team’s inconsistent performances in the past decade-and-a-half or so. While every cricket team experiences highs and lows, the long string of dismal outings by Pakistan and only a handful of wins here and there, started eroding my belief in the team’s ability to remain a force to be reckoned with. It became increasingly difficult to ignore the constant disappointments, and each defeat felt like a punch to the gut. As losses piled up, the emotional investment I had poured into supporting Pakistan began to wane. The excitement gave way to frustration, and the thrill of victory became a distant memory.
The passion that once fueled my late-night cricket-watching sessions slowly turned into apathy. Giving up my weeknight sleep to witness the team hit a new low every time no longer seemed worthwhile. The emotional toll of investing time and energy into a team that failed to reciprocate with success became too heavy to bear. The joy that cricket brought me was replaced by indifference.
Discussing Pakistan cricket with people from diverse backgrounds here in Canada became an embarrassing experience. The team’s inconsistent performances made it challenging to defend its reputation. What was once a joyful topic started carrying a sense of awkwardness, prompting me to shift to other conversations as a way to navigate through the discomfort. All of these factors combined, led me to reevaluate my position as a fan of Pakistan cricket, for my own well-being.
As each day goes by, my choice to gradually distance myself from Pakistan cricket as a follower becomes increasingly justified. The aftermath of each loss often is exacerbated by the proliferation of memes, particularly by fans from across the border pouncing on every opportunity to remind supporters of Pakistan cricket what a gone show their team is. Ex-cricketers with personal angles use their social media accounts proposing myriad solutions. TV news headlines are backed by tragic Bollywood background scores to add to the sensationalism. Poetic captions to summarize the humiliation further deepen the emotional wounds of genuine fans. The team’s losses and the resulting negativity are exploited on individual and collective levels for personal gains and amassing followers. The joy of being a cricket enthusiast is overshadowed by the commercialization of disappointment.
The lack of stability in team selection and the perpetual struggle for form among key players have only fueled the growing disillusionment of fans like me. The team that once represented hope and unity now seemed like a fragmented puzzle, with no clear picture emerging from the chaos. Batsmen play for personal stats and milestones. The fast bowlers lack the energy and intensity to consistently bowl over 140 clicks – something our pace attack once prided on. Spinners don’t possess the bite and guile to pose any kind of threat to the opposition, even on turning tracks. Fielders are often caught napping; dropping sitters, missing vital run outs and misfielding to concede precious runs. The selection committee and coaching aspects, which are in a limbo more often than not, add to the instability and the uncertainty Pakistan cricket has been famed for over the years.
Amidst this disarray, while a few supporters are found dissecting player performances in an impartial manner each time Pakistan is defeated, many of them passionately rally behind their favorite superstars, often to the extent of blind devotion. This unwavering loyalty takes a troubling turn when confronted with the shortcomings of these icons. Instead of approaching the matter with rationality, a subset of fans transforms into a hostile brigade, vehemently defending their beloved stars even in the face of evident flaws. The inclination to put individual players on a pedestal eclipses the broader perspective of prioritizing the team’s success. Rational discourse gives way to an almost tribal allegiance that sees any critique of the player in question as a personal attack. Emotions override reason. Constructive criticism is drowned out by a cacophony of impassioned defenses, creating an echo chamber that shields the superstar from any form of accountability.
But the players and the fans they are backed by are not only to be blamed for the sorry state of affairs. The very foundation of Pakistan cricket appears to be built upon a combination of troubling factors – a lack of purpose, pervasive dishonesty, blatant favoritism, and the toxic influence of politics. These systemic issues infiltrate every aspect of the sport in Pakistan, from team selection to administrative decisions. A lack of a coherent vision and the prevalence of unjust practices dim the prospects for success of an already fragile outfit. The team’s on-field struggles are surely a cause for concern, but the realization that the core values governing Pakistan cricket are tainted by a lack of transparency and fairness adds a deeper layer to the frustration felt by devoted followers.
Though a glimmer of hope always remains, the flame of passion for fans like me has certainly dimmed, and the cheers have been replaced by a resigned silence. Perhaps one day, the winds of change will blow, reigniting the fire that once burned brightly in my heart and the hearts of others who share similar sentiments. Until then, one’s only option is clinging on to the glories of days past. However, the cherished reservoir of triumphs is not immune to the relentless passage of time—it is a memory that is rapidly fading away. The recollections of historic victories, spirited performances, and a united fan base are like fragments of a bygone era, slipping through our fingers. In the ever-changing cricketing landscape, the fear lingers that the dwindling flame of those glorious moments might one day extinguish entirely, leaving us gazing into a void with only fading echoes of past cheers.
- About the author:
The author, a seasoned marketing/communications professional and former radio broadcaster who resided in the UAE for many years before settling in Canada, has penned numerous articles covering diverse topics. His penchant for cricket has prompted him to write extensively on the subject.