On the debris of defeat - Syed Talat Hussain


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
THE ICC World Cup semi-final in Mohali offers us two important insights. The first is a wide-spectrum sample of public opinion trends in India about Pakistan. The second relates to our national attitude of complacency in the aftermath of defeat.

The run-up to the match showed the reality of the much-hyped Indian desire for peace with Pakistan. Here was a great opportunity for the Indian media to win the hearts and minds of friends from Pakistan by showing grace and courtesy. But what was served was nothing less than national-level sledging, lasting for days.

The host nation took special care of the Pakistani squad. Large sections of the media tore into the Pakistani team and its captain as if this was an invading army from another world. In the name of debate, targeted frenzy was worked up against the green-shirts.

Matters became particularly uncivilised as the semi-final approached. The campaign was nothing short of a psychological warfare zeroing in on Pakistan. With the use of selective data and controversial instances, derision was freely heaped on the team. Kapil Dev talked about how little Pakistanis have to cheer about. Ravi Shastri, who loses his reason when the Indian team gets even a slight drubbing, compared the visitors with a rickety rickshaw, while the Indian squad, in his opinion, was a BMW.

On local channels the attack was particularly poisonous. In several shows, where Indian film stars and music divas rooted for their team before large audiences, ridiculing Pakistan was the norm.

We know media nationalism can hijack objectivity. It can lead to distortions. It can generate propaganda. This happens in Pakistan all the time. In that context, some of the content that was broadcast or written by the Indians about Pakistan could perhaps pass off as tolerable. But the scope of this campaign, which continued well after the match, was too large and the focus too specific to be ignored as a momentary loss of balance caused by the raging passion to win against arch rivals.

More worryingly, even some among the seemingly most liberal segments of society, who generally scoff at anti-Pakistan hysteria in their own country, had nothing but barely hidden contempt when it came to discussing issues related to their neighbour. No other country, or team, was subjected to this torment a point made by Shahid Afridi, the Pakistani captain, before the match.

It was almost as if the Mohali match had given the whole of India a season ticket to trash Pakistan. Cricket appeared to be an instrument to unleash collective contempt. This Mohali experience contrasts sharply with the popular narrative about the growing peace constituency in India that wants to treat Pakistan with respect and believes in the principle of parity of nations. At a critical time when convincing messages of brotherhood could have been packaged with courtesy and sent across the borders to Pakistan with love, the mail received from India contained little other than hate.

The second insight that the Mohali event offers is just as important as it calls for a serious revision of the way we have chosen to respond to our defeat. A fake legend of heroism is being pushed out of our pathetic performance. The central message of this campaign is that we should ask no question, hear no criticism, and make no complaint against our team because we love them.

The mantra that is spamming inboxes is primarily led by commercial organisations that have big contracts with some of the players. After the match these organisations have a problem: the poster-boys who rope in customers have suddenly developed feet of clay. This is disastrous for marketing. Continued hero worship is therefore vital for the image of the brands the cricketers represent. And this can only happen if the nation is told that somehow the mess in Mohali is marvellous for Pakistans cricket.

But apart from this there is a disturbing national tendency to sweep failures under the carpet. So when Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in whose province thousands of doctors have been on strike for weeks demanding higher wages offered cash to the players he was as much playing politics as he was endorsing this sorry trend.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani too wanted to fete the team for having reached the semi-final. Suddenly failure to make it to the finals has become a point of great pride, a matter of honour rather than cause for reflection and course correction.

But this is not surprising. We have consistently rewarded incompetence. We have a culture of complacency that simply lowers the bar of achievement instead of raising the game to the level where the best compete and win.

It is this criminal compromise with slackness and rank stupidity that has produced fake degree holders who flaunt their credentials with impunity and a band of corrupt-to-the-bone individuals who hold high offices. Mohali offers us a dozen points to ponder, about cricket, about the odds we face and the character we exhibit under pressure. But we will only face more Mohalis in every field of life if we, as a nation, stay proud as a peacock and prance around the debris of our defeat. We will be fooling no one except ourselves.

The writer is a senior journalist at DawnNews.

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Councller (250+ posts)
rather than playing like cornered tigers of 92, they played like sissy's .... should have taken the fight to them rather than letting them unfold the flaws and ashamed loss. I know it was just a game of cricket.. no problems with losing... should have lost with a bit of more grace i guesss.

Farooq Khan

MPA (400+ posts)
Pakistan need more people who think and dare to write like Brother Talat Hussain your our pride Thanks for contribution you can be sure when you write people read it because people know these words are from an HONOURABLE PERSON and this is hard to find in Pakistan unfortunately.


Voter (50+ posts)
Can one notices a pattern in the way the Pakistani team plays cricket?

First, they take time to warm up, and fielding usually means missed stumps and dropped catches. They then wish that their opponent team would prove unluckier to hand them over a victory. One cannot rise to become champions with such an approach. Each missed chance should come with a price tag for the player responsible. Their should be a performance appraisal committee of experts that should issue a record of mistakes made so that cricketers submit themselves to a culture of scrutiny and accountability.


MPA (400+ posts)
The Semi Final against India was 100% fixed match.
The way Hafeez got out was commented by Sunil Gavasker that as to why Hafeez is playing wrong shots as though he is deliberately trying to get OUT.
Umar Gul through out his both spells, bowled down the leg side. when he sees he cant release well yorker its becoming full toss over and over then he should give pitch shot or bouncing balls to batsman its common sense yaar
Misbah ul Haque who deliberately played slow wanted to make sure that we lose the match.
Power Play was NOT taken at the right time.
6 catches were dropped
I would ask now all the chamchas of present Govt, to stop discussing Cricket and concentrate on issues of daily concern.


talaat bhai hum ireland bangladesh canada se 100 martaba haarney ko tiyaar ha hum pak team k jootey polish kerlenge maghar bharat se nahi haar sakhte yeh shahid afridi kehta ha k hum indian content dekhtey tou nafraat kayiko mein nahi dekhta indian content tou mujhey cup chayeh india se at any coooosssssttttt........................


Senator (1k+ posts)
rather than playing like cornered tigers of 92, they played like sissy's .... should have taken the fight to them rather than letting them unfold the flaws and ashamed loss. I know it was just a game of cricket.. no problems with losing... should have lost with a bit of more grace i guesss.

Should not have lost at all, the team certainly had the ability to win but didnt apply it. As always the psychology of the game needs to be learned and applied.


Excellent piece from Talat. I agree with his valid points. Indian media was running hate campaign agianst Pakistan. Shame on our channels for not countering their negative propaganda. Except for Talat no other journalist has given them a befitting response. Well done Talat and keep it up!


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
This sums it up

I can sum up our team attitude and practices in few lines.

Our players still live in the time capsules they were living when they were playing in the streets and local club cricket. Friend(s) came around to pick you for the match, you are just out of your bed with fizzy hairs and unwashed face, you looked down from your first floor balcony, shouted at him, yarra andar aja, Pratha puke hain, lets get some breakfast while I get ready.

These tendencies and practices are not leaving us, we are not professionals at every level of the society, our players are no exceptions look at our political leaders, same practices adopted unfortunately.

In our batting our practices are still frozen in time wrap and not moved with the time. Please analyse our recent games, you will see the same pattern, it existed in all of our WC matches too.

After the defeat I heard Raja saying why Misbah played so slowly and wasted balls? Well let me remind him, it was he who has mastered this art 15/20 years ago, to play slowly pretend to build up an innings, going by 3 runs or sometime less an over, wasting balls, every time banking on big hitters to scores runs heavily in the end overs.

Nothing has changed over the years; Younis Khan and Misbah have adopted same practices in all the matches of the WC. Please analyse all the matches, same practices were adopted. Our Manager and Coaches are mindless people with one track approach, no wonder they were all lost during our batting display in the Semi, unable to change the tactics even to take power play at the right time to infuse some urgency in our reply.

I predicted this scenario to my friends and family days in advance even before the WC started. Look at the series with SA in Dubai, in one match the gamble worked and Razzak succeeded, in another we missed narrowly. The Pakistani team and Coaches thought this the way to go, nothing new there, same policy for two decades now. It has two problems firstly, it does not work every time you tend to fail more than succeed, due to the pressure build to chase target when 10+ an over are needed. Secondly, other teams have evolved and they play with different tactics and plans. You are always playing catch up with them. Look at Australians, Sri Lankans, Indians, their middle order plays natural game no matter how many wickets they have lost. Take example of the Final, after losing first two wickets so early, if Indians adopted the same practice adopted by Pakistan in the Semi, and have gone in to their shells, it would have been impossible for them to get 275 target.

Pakistanis need to change their attitudes and practices; we are suffering from national apathy. Our nation is full of lazy, uneducated and predictable people. Be it politics, media, sport or any other sections of the society. We always leave it to the last minute; we have no sense or need for planning, objectivity, consistency in planning and achievement of goals.

Our players are uneducated, pea brains who loss it more times than most teams when pressure resulting from their own mistakes mounts on them. They are ill equipped mentally, even though they are bursting with natural talent, more than any team in the world. Lets face it in natural talent and skills Indians are no match for us, but Indians play with planning, they have been trained now for few years to take pressure, look at Dhonis body language during the games. Then look at Afridi in the Semi, he was trying to tear his hairs while Tendulkars catches were dropped after every few balls. Lets face it; Afridi is an uneducated idiot, who has brought insult and shame to our country by chewing the ball in front of the cameras. Which sane person will try to put the whole of the ball in his mouth in front of the cameras?

Indian TV station was showing another incident during Pakistanis last trip to Mohali, when Shahid tried to hit the wicket with Yuraj bat as an example of his cheating. It was not cheating, but stupidity, a batsman is not run out if his bat hits the stumps while he is running at the other end or any end. You can only get out hit wicket if you hit stumps while batting and in trying to play a ball you hit your stumps, not during your running. But this stupid Shahid knew no better, even if he tried to joke, it back fired and the outrageous Indian media had a field day with his stupidities.

But more outrageous is the behaviour of Shahid Afridi on his return, he forgot the mauling he was getting in India, which he complained in one of his press conferences. On his return he accused Pakistani nation of suffering from Indian hate. He just had to look at what Indians were showing on their stations and how our media was positive during all the hype. But he wouldnt be a stupid if he could understand it without it is pointed out to him. Indian played mind games he and his team succumbed to their games and now he wants to blame the Pakistani nation for his mental inaptitude.


Senator (1k+ posts)
I dont agree with with him on some points....specially the way he has criticized the team

This team woul'nt have walked passed the quarters.... but it made to the semis....

It got defeated by the team which went on to win the final... it is not about being complacent... it is about being a bit realistic.... mistakes are bound to happen ... and if they happen in groups.. they result in a defeat....

At the same time.. the team should be appreciated... but worn out players should be removed....

and the players should realized (as shoaib did ) that nobody can play forever... so when the age starts to get on their path... they should leave with dignity...as Imran did....

This should be an eye opening event for PCB..... it should develop a structure of national cricket ..... and continuously work on it to make it popular among the masses...

But bashing them for their poor performance in the semis.... I dont agree....
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