Pakistan cricket team is a notorious lot, they have been in a habit of being in the limelight for all the wrong reasons; be it match fixing issues or having differences with the board. The Pakistani side is renowned for their inconsistency, no team is more capable of losing matches in situations where a win seems almost certain. The team is known to be the most unpredictable in the world and can spring a surprise every time they take the field. The team has more often than not come under fire for shoddy batting displays, poor fielding, disciplinary issues and whatnot. But one thing that has never been questioned is the sheer talent the team possesses. Push them back to the wall and question their credentials and see how they rise from the ashes like a phoenix.
The Pakistani side has never really had a dearth of talented cricketers. They has been successful in giving the cricketing world some of the best players of all times, be it fast bowlers, spinners or batsmen. Their bowling attack of nineties was feared by one and all. It was the same set of Pakistani fast bowlers who invented the art of reverse swing and always second guessed the batsmen with their bowling prowess. Players like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan, Abdul Qadir, Saqlain Mushtaq, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar were some legends who established Pakistani team to be one of the world beaters.
The days of golden past are long over and the Pakistani side is going through their worst cricketing phase ever. They are not able to play at home, neither are the players allowed to play in IPL. Sadly, both of the reasons have some link to the terrorism prevalent in the country.
Despite being a nation who’s crazy over cricket, there is no money being invested for the betterment of the game and nurturing the talented cricketers. The players have had their fair share of trouble with the board over money and selections. But even after all this, what really is inspiring is that their cricketing spirit never seems to die down. The team gives its best shot, every single time they enter the playing field.
The test series against Australia was no different. The cricketing world had reservations after the modern legend Saeed Ajmal was barred from playing, and there were concerns that the Australian side might turn out to be too strong for the Pakistanis. The Mighty Australians came in confidently with Johnson leading the bowling attack, backed by the rejuvenated Peter Siddle and reliable Lyon. The batting seemed strong with Captain Clarke holding the fort for them. And the confidence level of the team was pretty good as well after the whitewash win in the One-Dayers.
On the contrary, the Pakistani bowling attack seemed quite weak. Zulfiqar Babar, slow left-arm bowler, aged 33 never seemed like the bowler who could deliver. Yasir Shah & Imran Khan were yet to make their test debuts and Rahat Ali was still finding his feet at the international level. But the Pakistani team proved their mettle yet again, the inexperienced attack responded magnificently, kudos to their selectors’ intuition and faith.
The chances of winning seemed bleak for the Pakistan team when they were 7 for 2 in the first innings of the first test, with Mitchell Johnson belching fire from his mouth. But after the initial hiccup the Pakistani side held the full control of the game. Their batsmen shared nine centuries in total: three in a row, including a double for Younis Khan, who before the series didn’t have a single century against the Aussies in tests. Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali thrashed two centuries in both the innings of the second test, and his second century of the match took just 56 balls equalling Viv Richards’s record for fastest test century. Zulfiqar Babar turned out to be one of the most unlikely heroes.
This victory came at a time when people had lost all hopes from the Pakistani side after the shock defeats in the one-dayers. However, they responded quite amazingly by battering the powerful Australians by heavy margins. It felt like the perfect moment for all the cricket fans worldwide to celebrate the victory of the cricketing spirit.
Such incidents and Pakistan, funnily enough, make cricket an unpredictable sport.