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What the PSL means to me, A common Pakistani

Karachi Kings sealed two thrilling wins to make it to the play-offs
Karachi Kings sealed two thrilling wins to make it to the play-offs
©chris whiteoak
 

Its 7pm here in Lahore and I sit glued to the TV screen surrounded by people I love the most; my friends, my family. But that’s not what’s important here. It’s Pollard on strike. 14 runs required off the last over. It’s do or die for my team; the Karachi Kings (how ironic). Either we go big or we go home.

Aamer Yamin, the young medium pacer from the Lahore Qalandars bowls a decent four deliveries to both Imad Wasim and Pollard as the duo manage just four runs off four balls courtesy a brilliant piece of fielding from Brendon McCullum. My friends cheer in sheer delight as 10 runs are required off just the last two deliveries. “Yeh match Lahore ka hay Bhai” (This match is Lahore’s brother!) screams Abdullah facing me. I take the last few sips of the now cold chai, hoping against hope for a miracle to happen. “Bhai. Yeh hay na Pollard. Yay jeetaye ga match, jese Braithwaite nay jetaaya tha T20 Final may” (Pollard is still on the crease, I reckon he can do a Braithwaite here) I answered back nervously.

Yamin takes his mark and starts running. I look at the heavens and whisper “Ya Allah aur kuch nahi chaahye. Aik chakka par jaye bass” (Oh Lord! I want nothing more than a six here) .As the ball is delivered, I jump off the sofa in delight, a huge six from Pollard! Just four required off the last delivery. There is complete silence in the room and only my voice echoes as Mustafa lights up his cigerrete. “Yeh phass gaya match” (It’s anyone’s match now) he says. Like my friends and I, both Fawad Rana and Salman Iqbal, the two owners of the franchises, sit nervously on the more comfortable seats in the hope for some miracle to happen.

As of this moment, a Lahore win seems likely but hang on, KP is still on the crease, as hungry as any West Indian can be. “You can do this Yamin” scream Qureshi and Hariss, two of my best friends but friendship doesn’t matter here. It’s Karachi against Lahore, the mother of all rivalries. It’s like Pakistan against India all over again. “Can Pollard do a Miandad here?” I question myself as Yamin races towards his mark. He starts his run up, delivers the ball and boom! “Pollaaaaarrrdddd” screams Danny Morrison. It’s all over. A huge six! The teammates rush onto the field and hug the big man. Back in the VIP box, Salman Iqbal jumps with joy. Karachi survive. They live to fight another day.

The nail biting match made me think of how the Pakistani people have been deprived of what they love the most. I shed a tear or two each time I think of just how extremely unlucky we are. There is absolutely nothing that we, the Pakistanis, want more than watching our heroes live in a jam packed cricket stadium waiting anxiously for the ball to fly to us in the hope of catching the white ball and getting inducted in the “Pepsi Catch A Crore”. Yes, despite everything this nation has gone through and perhaps will go through for years, it wants cricket to return home. It wants Misbah to salute the crowd once more, it wants Younis to kiss the ground once more, it wants Amir to celebrate freely once more, and it wants to see Pakistan rise once more.

There comes a time in the life of a true sports fan when passion starts to overlook sanity and being as cricket hungry as we are, we have definitely crossed that stage. Despite the recent attacks in Lahore, I am a hundred per cent sure that no matter if international players participate or not, no matter if the Lahore Qalandars reach the final or not, men, women, children and families from all walks of life, will leave their work and head their rickshaws, bicycles and cars towards Qaddafi Stadium come Sunday, the 5th of March.

People often ask me what this league means to me. This is exactly what it means: this is the beauty of the Pakistan Super League. It doesn’t really matter if you’re from Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot, Sukkur, Quetta or even Kashmir for that matter, you own the league, each and every one of you. No matter what unfolds, at the end of the day, Pakistan wins; cricket wins.

© Cricket World 2017