Boom Boom Afridi comes home to boisterous fans and unruly media


KARACHI – Bereft of heroes in our age and time, eager fans (relatives and children of ministers and bureaucrats) and an unruly media turned the congratulatory reception of the Green Shirts at the Chief Minister’s (CM) House on Friday into real hell for our cricketing heroes.
The event was condemned to mismanagement soon after the Pakistan team arrived in the lawn of the CM House, with security personnel desperately trying to catch relatives and children of ministers and bureaucrats from haranguing cricketers – in particular skipper Shahid Afridi – but ultimately failing in all their attempts. After all, a single gesture from one or the other minister, or even senior Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders, was enough for security personnel to withdraw.
On the other hand, some cameramen from the electronic media had lined up in an orderly fashion more than an hour before the cricket team arrived. With no more space left, the tardy cameramen bided their time till the team arrived, and thronged the reserved seating area and the dais – prompting the ordered ones to follow suit. A story, of course, is what journalists earn their dough on, and a story about today’s heroes is not one to be missed.
Clearly exasperated by the overbearing earnestness of the fans, the team and the support staff were worn down. “Chal bhuyee, humari baree aa gayee (come along, our turn has come),” a frustrated Coach Waqar Younis told Assistant Coach Aqib Javed when their names were called out for the Sindh government’s awards and bestowing of the Sindhi topi and ajrak.
To their credit, however, almost all cricketers smiled throughout the event – even refusing simple requests with a smile on their face. “Patience is very important for cricketers,” appreciated Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah, before explaining how children harangue him to bits.
When it came down to the speeches, skipper Afridi, Manager Intikhab Alam and Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ijaz Butt all thanked the Sindh CM for appreciating the efforts of the team.
“If our fans continue to support us this way, there is no reason why we can’t win the World Cup the next time,” Afridi said. “In my 14-year career, we have never worked so hard. Our image had been tainted in the recent past, but credit must go to the coaches and the team management for rebuilding it. I am also thankful to the PCB chairman for backing the team management’s decisions regarding team building and composition.
Alam said that the love and respect accorded by fans and the government alike had humbled the team. “You must remember that it is not just the squad of 15 that represents a country,” he said. “The team is of 24 members, with the non-playing staff contributing behind the scenes.” Alam also lauded the team’s performance, claiming that being deprived of the right to play should not be underestimated and that victories despite such a hindrance were worthy of celebration.
CM Shah said that the Green Shirts were our pride and very good ambassadors, and it was because of them that the prime ministers of India and Pakistan had met. He said that cricketers were responsible for making the country proud in the comity of nations. “Cricket is our national game,” Shah said, but MQM’s Mohammad Ali Shah interrupted his speech to offer pearls of wisdom of his own. “We gave all teams a tough fight, even the game against India was a close one.
Later on, cash awards of Rs 500,000, certificates and Sindhi topis and ajraks were conferred on the team.