Following India’s loss to Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday, there were different reactions by people on both sides of the border. While people in Pakistan celebrated their team’s victory with zest, Indian fans were rather disappointed by the abysmal defeat. There is no denying that there is an inexplicable frenzy about the game of cricket between the two nations. For most cricket fans in these two countries with a history, this is much more than just a fixture. It is about pride accompanied by heavy braggadocio.
Taunts are hurled at each other seldom in good sporting spirit. Again, it’s not just a game. This excitement and frenzy now seem to have taken a new high with the widespread use of social media where memes are a daily digest for cricket enthusiasts and used as a platform to prove which team is better by means of derogatory insults, resulting in quite unhealthy competitive nationalism. In other words, to prove ‘Baap Kaun Hai?’
And the final game of this year’s edition of the Champions Trophy provided just what the fans wanted. The result, as we all know, came as a shock to Indian fans. As always, the internet was the quickest to react. Amid all the trolls and hate, there was this one Facebook post that touched the hearts of thousands of cricket fans on either side of the fence. This post by Archana Mohan came as a ‘thank you’ note to the Pakistan team. It’s always good to know that amid all the abuses, insults and hatred, there is a message about love, especially when it’s needed most.
Pakistan, thanks for defeating us!
I was sure I would wake up with a soul wrenching hangover after you pulverized my team yesterday. To be honest, I wanted to bury myself in a hole and keep newspapers at bay so I didn’t have to relive ‘that’ no ball again.
But something happened this morning.
Instead of the pooja room, where she usually offers prayers every morning, my mother in law was in the living room, waxing eloquent about Mohammad Amir. ‘God works in mysterious ways,’ she said. ‘The boy who made a mistake in his youth has grabbed his second chance. What a great redemption!’
‘I wish we had players like theirs’, my husband said ruefully. ‘From the by lanes of Peshawar to an ICC event, they are cricketers in the purest sense’, he said dreamily.
‘And what about that boy Fakhar Zaman’, my father in law, said, his cup of filter coffee simmering just like his voice. He is a Navy man no? That’s what a soldier does for his country,’ the ex-serviceman said proudly.
At work, the colleague who had only a day earlier tweeted a crude slur on Pakistan confessed he had watched everything there was on Youtube about Sarfaraz Ahmed. That man, he said sheepishly, is something else.
On my social media feed, there were dozens of messages congratulating Pakistan and saluting their never say die spirit. ‘Marry me Babar Azam’ said one of them!
It felt like utopia.
What if India had won? I shudder to think of how low some of us would have stooped in our boorish behavior.
It has been a tough few years for Pakistan. Lack of finances and the reluctance of other teams to play there on account of security reasons has crippled them to some extent but as this win shows, you can never write them off. Irrespective of the result, I am sure, we will always remember this unbelievable comeback from the team that was expected to crash out in the first round itself.
I can’t believe that I am saying this, but thank you Pakistan for winning the match. Thank you for being an inspiration.
India may have ended up second, but many of us won something more important than a shiny trophy – the tag of being a good sport.
Perhaps there may still be hope for the two countries after all!
A little love would do us no harm.
Article By Aman Sahil