An Evening with Pakistan’s
By Farhan Aziz
to R; Wasim Bari, Farhan Aziz and Asif Iqbal
cricket fans here and elsewhere rarely have an opportunity
to watch international cricket matches in stadiums, let
alone seek autographs from our heroes. I recently had the
good fortune and pleasure of attending a dinner reception
at the beautiful defense society (Karachi) home of former
Pakistan cricket captain Moin Khan. It was indeed a dream
come true for this self-confessed cricket-o-holic.
The evening featured a unique gathering of some of Pakistan’s
most recognizable cricketing names: the effervescent Mohammed
brothers (Mushtaq, Sadiq, and Hanif’s son Shoaib),
along with Javed Miandad, Wasim Bari, Iqbal Qasim, Salim
Yousef, Haroon Rashid, Asif Iqbal and Waqar Younis, were
just some of the legends that were present. Inzimam Ul Haq,
Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razak, Mohammed Yousuf, Arshad Khan,
and Mushtaq Ahmed represented the current crop of stars.
Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Mr. Shehreyar Khan
was also in attendance.
to R: Waqar Yunus, Moin Khan and Mushy
conversing with some of our more celebrated legends, I was
amazed at their humility, knowledge, and lucid ability to
communicate their thoughts. Wasim Bari, Iqbal Qasim, Asif
Iqbal, Haroon Rashid, Waqar Younis, and Moin Khan spoke
eloquently on the state of Pakistan’s cricket, while
Shoaib Mohammad, a frequent traveler to the US, shared his
memories of California and America’s finest cricket
park (Woodley, in Van Nuys, CA). Javed Miandad, perhaps
Pakistan’s most recognizable cricket figure, was generous
in imparting some batting tips. These gentlemen may have
retired from Pakistan’s competitive cricket stage,
but an inherent cricketing spirit keeps them very close
to the sport that has given them so much success.
of us have read and seen on our television sets, the increasing
amount of religiosity within our current group of cricketers.
Many of us have wondered privately whether this change has
unified a traditionally fractious unit? I certainly don’t
have the answers, but what I can share with you about this
post-match fixing unit is: what you see is what you get.
Inzimam Ul Haq on TV is uncomplicated, unflappable, and
soft-spoken, while Mohammed Yousuf appears unfussy and free
from the rapaciousness of the privileged. In person, both
are much the same - they greet you with both hands, smile
at you with genuine sincerity and converse with you with
respect, irrespective of your name or stature. Shahid Afridi
appears plucky and animated on screen, while Abdul Razzak
presents himself as blasé. In person, they are the
same – Afridi the vivacious, and Razzak the imperturbable.
In conversing with these gentlemen, I realized that our
current stars all shared the simplicity, sincerity, and
minimalism of bucolic dwellers.
author with Inzamam
the socioeconomic and geographic composition of our team
has changed in the new millennium. Previously, our teams
were sourced mainly from the metropolises of Karachi and
Lahore, with leading figures from urban households; often
with college education. In contrast, our current squad features
only four players who were born in Karachi or Lahore and
an even less number with a college degree.
was certainly an evening with Pakistan’s cricketing
elite. Moin Khan and his wife, clearly seasoned and munificent
hosts, charmed the glitzy gathering of stars with their
warm hospitality, attention to detail, and a serving of
delectable dishes and sweets. I was truly honored to be
a part of this unique gathering.