The Hero Pakistan Loves to Hate

Image not property of zaidahmed
Image not property of zaidahmed

As the world cup comes near, Pakistan prepares for their favorite sport. Although, like always the odds are against the national team, the nation can’t help but hope for a repeat of the 1992 glory. The nation is all geared and waiting for Shahid Afridi to walk to the crease or for Mohammad Irfan to run towards the wicket, they count their favorites and bet that they will take the team to success. One man never seems to make it to that list of favorites, perhaps he shall always be defined by that night in Mohali, 2011. The nation shall always look down at him, hate him and blame him for the debacle at Mohali. Perhaps this is what we do as a nation, we choose to judge and define an individual by one event and not appreciate him for what he has done regardless of so many contributions. The man that the nation does not expect from this world cup, the man that the nation hates for being captain and taking away that honor from their beloved Boom Boom is none other than our very own Misbah ul Haq, the hero we love to hate.

We choose to ignore that Misbah was Pakistan’s highest scorer in the inaugural T20 world cup, 3rd highest of the tournament and that he raised the fight in the final when the entire team had fallen, we fail to see his fight in the 2013 Champion’s trophy when he was the lone survivor in all the matches when once again the entire line up crumbled, we dismiss his fastest ton as a fluke and not skill, we forget that he has always played under pressure of a batting collapse but instead we choose to call him out on his calm, defensive nature, we call him out on not having made an ODI hundred, we call him out for not having a 100+ strike rate but mostly we hate him because of that night in Mohali. We choose to ignore Misbah’s undeniable success as a test captain and batsman, we want to call him out for driving the Pakistani cricket team towards doom in ODIs, perhaps we have been going towards that since what happened in Lord’s 2010, Misbah has managed to slow the pace towards that (ironic eh?), one can’t help but consider, will the current Pakistan team even make 200 runs in an ODI if Misbah ul Haq was not part of the line up? remove misbah’s contributions in the 2013 champion’s trophy and countless other ODIs and you will have your answer.

Hearts of millions of Pakistanis wish to see Pakistan achieve glory once again at the MCG, but so many of them can not fathom to see Misbah being the one lifting the world cup as they will no longer be able to despise him which they want to do so badly.

We as a nation have a set image for our heroes, they need to be aggressive, attacking players, our image of heroes is set as Miandad and Shahid Afridi. An individual who does not play aggressive cricket like them will most likely not be a hero to us even though he may deserve it. We fail to see the collective failure of our team and we point towards one man, one man only, Misbah ul Haq. We fail to see that he is always on the wrong side of a batting collapse and on most occasions he has been the one to stabilize it, he has always risen to the occasion and got the team somewhere rather then nowhere.

He is not a Miandad, he is not an Afridi, he never will be, he is a player of his own class, just like we may not ever see another Miandad or an Inzamam, we wont see another Misbah. He is that player in our team on whom we can rely on and who has the capability to turn the game around, Pakistan may be the minnows in this world cup but if we have any chance whatsoever of getting anywhere, it will be Misbah who will take us there, if not him then no one will. This world cup is his last campaign to solidify himself in the halls of fame of Pakistan cricket and perhaps the hearts of the Pakistani people, Pakistan’s chances in the world cup may not be bright, but whatever glow one sees, it is this man who forms a large part of it. In Misbah we trust.