After the euphoria over India’s victory in Twenty20 World Cup settles down, folks will start digging into Shoaib Malik’s post match comments.
Mukul Kesavan conducts a preliminary inquiry into this episode with this post:
Then the Pakistan captain said something that was so irrelevant that I couldn’t believe my ears. So I looked at the highlights over and over again to make sure that I’d actually heard him say it. This is what he said to master of ceremonies, Ravi Shastri, who asked him a sympathetic question about the game after Shoaib had collected his loser’s medal:
“First of all I want to say something over here. I want to thank you back home Pakistan and where the Muslim lives all over the world.”
This is what he said word for word because it’s important to quote him correctly. The problem here isn’t the syntax, it is the sentiment. I don’t expect Shoaib Malik to be a politically correct intellectual, but it is reasonable to expect him to know the world of cricket that he inhabits.
Myself, I would take a much more charitable view of things.
Amidst pictures of Indians jumping around the ground, there were shots of a sunken Pakistan team being led out to the ground by what looked like an inconsolable Shoaib Malik.
Much is said about how unfancied the two teams were before this tournament began. What most people do not realize, however, is that of the two, Pakistan had a much more balanced team.
This was the team that simply walked past Sri Lanka and Australia in the league matches. New Zealand were similarly brushed aside in the semi-final.
Contrast this with India’s lead-up to the final. Even the horribly inefficient English middle-order ran them close. South Africa were too timid, but the Aussies came out all guns blazing in the semi-final. If it were not for an Aussie lower-order that had not had much game-time in this tournament, things could have been different for India.
Amidst all that, there was an under-current of speculation running around the cricket fraternity that Pakistan were favourites. This under-current started gushing out in the open once they managed to restrict the Indian score to 157. Add Imran Nazir’s 15 ball 33, and you were on the mark.
When you lose from such a position and after so much promise, you are left with nothing.
None of this is to condone what Shoaib said to Ravi Shastri…but please allow him this small consolation…this small beating of the chest under duress.
As Pakistan mourns the defeat, the rest of the cricketing world can celebrate the birth of Instant Cricket, no ?
Ongoing series “India are champs”
Part 1 here