Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Pakistani Cricket - What Is Normal?

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What is normal for you? Working during the weekdays, relaxing during the weekends and trying to manage a little time for some frivolity in between. Now answer this, what is abnormal for you? A car crash? Losing an arm or a leg, maybe? Probably something that does not happen all that often, right?

On a day when Inzimam ul Haq has been forced to defend his off-field captaincy methods, his national coach Bob Woolmer tries to make us believe that the current scandals surrounding Pakistani cricket are not "normal service". Either he is shamefully uneducated about the modern history of Pakistani cricket, or he thinks we were born yesterday.

The Pakistani team we have been treated to over the past season or two is hardly normal. It has recently been a team of settled, focussed and motivated players who have managed to keep themselves out of trouble (to a large extent). This is a reformed Pakistani outfit, not one that is "normal".

Normal, for Pakistani cricket, is when star players have thinly veiled arguments with their captain/team-mates through the media; is when star players miss training camps due to dubious injuries; is when their is a new captain after every two or three series; generally, is when players make the headlines, occasionally for brilliant on-field heroics, mostly for immature/foolish/downright idiotic histrionics. I would almost be inclined to opine that the most recent Shoaib Akthar episode is more normal than anything we have seen since Woolmer has been coach.

Woolmer also touches on an interesting point in his article, something I was dwelling on when I heard this news. He writes, "I guess that my career as a coach will go down as one with its fair share of controversy and trying to explain exactly what really happened."

Does anybody, other than me, find it minutely mysterious that Bob Woolmer has been at the helm of both teams that have been involved in, arguably, the two most scandalous events that our great sport has had inflicted upon it? Only knowing the man through various media portrayals, I am hardly qualified to perform a character assassination at this point in time. However, the question must be asked: is there something lacking in Bob Woolmer that puts his charges in the wrong place at extremely wrong times?

I will leave it to you all to ponder. Until then, let us all be entertained by Pakistani cricket's "normal service".

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