By Adeel Abid –
We Pakistanis love our cricket. It is one of the few things we are passionate about. In fact, there isn’t a single thing I can think of that we as a nation feel a passion for. Unless of course, if bashing out political leaders counts as one. Much like our politics though, the game of cricket is no stranger to controversy, match fixing or corruption. It is not surprising then, that the person hogging the limelight these days is none other than an ex-cricketer turned politician. One who led our cricket team to its sole World Cup glory nearly two decades ago. A feat, which he promises to repeat in the murky waters of Pakistani politics.
While many view Imran Khan as the saviour who will bring much needed reforms in the country, four years of Imran Khan in power is, I confess, not something that I look forward to with glee. Wait! Wait! Before you start hurling that shoe of yours, hear me out. I am no Nawaz supporter and if you wanted to chant “Go Nawaz Go” on the top of your rooftops, I did gladly join you and even offer you a cup of tea to soothe your lungs. I have nothing against Imran Khan or the PTI per se but in what the rise of this cricket legend will mean for us poor Pakistanis.
What is even more troubling is the fact that this is just the beginning. Imagine what will happen if Imran Khan does become Prime Minister.
Imran Khan promises to bring a revolution to the country. Just what the doctor ordered, I hear you say. I agree completely. However, unwittingly, there is one other revolution he seems to have brought about which worries me even more, causing me many a sleepless night. And that is the revolution of cricket terminology that has plagued the media ever since Imran Khan’s ascendancy on the political pitch, so to say. Any discussion about Imran Khan or the PTI, or just politics in general, is now inevitably accompanied by a series of cricketing metaphors such as “Imran Khan hits a sixer out of the park with his successful rally at Minar-e-Pakistan” or that “he’s taken a huge wicket off the opposition in southern Punjab” and even whether “he can bat out the full 50 overs or will his team be bowled out long before the general elections.” Yes, we get it. He was a cricketer. Can we please move on?
What is even more troubling is the fact that this is just the beginning. Imagine what will happen if Imran Khan does become Prime Minister. These cricket terms will forever become inundated in our everyday speech. Newscasters will judge their wit by the number of cricket idioms they can squeeze into their bulletins. The very ball and bat that we treasure today, will become the bane of our existence. Cricket fever will turn into a deathly pneumonia infecting each and every one of us. Imagine what a news report announcing the PTI’s victory would sound like.
Imran Khan and the PTI have bowled out the opposition parties. He’s cleanly dodged the bouncers that were thrown at him by the opposing teams and claimed victory. PML-N may have taken the major wickets in Lahore, but those were just minor setbacks as the PTI bowled yorker after yorker in each constituency to seal the match.
And what of Imran Khan’s own victory speech. Here’s a little excerpt of what you might expect.
The boys played really well. I told them to go out in the ground and just bat with confidence, which is exactly what they did. They played with a straight bat and piled on the votes and the opposition just crumbled under the pressure losing wickets at regular intervals. The electables were the man of the match for us demonstrating their experience and wisdom on the field.
This is just the start of course. Cricket (or rather Cricklish) will become our new national language. Imagine if Reham Khan’s book revelations had come out with the PTI in power. We would have had a succinct match report instead of a normal news report with live scores being tweeted to us minute by minute.
Hamza Ali Abbasi has bowled a doosra which has bewildered everyone. Reham Khan was looking to hit a sixer with her autobiography but the ball just edged past her leaving her confounded. The Twitterati has outright refused to play ball with her with #ReportReham and #BlockReham trending on Twitter. Pakistanis on Facebook are also calling for a dope test on Reham. Hamza continues to insist that there was no foul play on his part and has denied allegations of chucking the ball.”
It will not stop with just the news channels though. It will plague every part of our lives. Job interviews too would become much akin to a series of bouncers thrown at you while you try and slog it out.
Interviewer: How well do you think you have done academically? Did you lob it for a six, a four or were you merely bowled out for a duck?
Interviewee: Like Afridi, I went out and swung my bat with full force but I may have slightly mistimed my approach to the examinations, due to which the ball went one bounce towards the boundary for four. As you can see, I have As in all subjects except History in which I secured a B.
Interviewer: Do you think you can bat successfully for our organisation?
Interviewee: I am confident I will be able to bat out a long innings in the company and will settle for nothing less than a century.
Interviewer: Welcome to our team. We hope you will do the nation proud.
Schools will become the breeding ground for newer and more eccentric idioms. English students will be left puzzling over the past present and future participle of “to bowl”. Math’s questions would resemble cricket trivia. “If Sachin Tendulkar scored 201 runs out of which 60% were scored in the form of boundaries including 3 sixes, how many 4s did he hit?” The number of students claiming to be retired hurt on a periodic basis would rise dramatically, classes will be called training sessions and final examinations will be our new World Cup.
Schools will become the breeding ground for newer and more eccentric idioms.
Needless to say, I deeply fear the rise of the PTI. With Imran Khan leading the country, the day will soon come when we will be cursing the British for bringing cricket to the sub-continent. Like China, examinations will be held in stadiums. Cricket rather than Olympics ones in our case. Spikes will replace formal shoes. Much like Brazil, who has a football on its national flag, the crescent and star on our national flag, will be replaced by the bat and ball. The green jerseys will become our new night suits. Cupcakes will become spherical and be called ball cakes. Each season of a reality show will be called a Test Match series and sledging will become our national pastime. One that our politicians will no doubt find great delight in.
As you can see, our country will indeed be in dire straits if we let the PTI come to power. We must all, therefore, solemnly pledge to not cast a single vote for Imran Khan or his political party and put a stop to this innings, I mean, madness.