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The above picture shows the sports complex of LUMS packed with a bunch of cricket crazy fans. The picture is not at all representative of the fact that more or less the entire LUMS population was present for the screening of the ICC Cricket World Cup semi final played between Pakistan and India. Given all the hype and buildup to the match, the turnout was not unexpected, but it does raise some interesting insights to ponder on.
The frenzy was there, the atmosphere was one of anticipation. The place was literally overflowing with the colour green. A nation that worships cricket put aside all their differences and came together under the national flag to support their team. It was not just a cricket match anymore; it was a matter of national pride.
Never will Pakistan see such a display of unity as seen for a cricket match, especially one against India. The last time such a phenomenon was seen was when the Pakistani cricket team won the T20 World Cup in 2009. Such a win guarantees that people will put aside all their differences to come together as one nation – however temporary it may be. It goes on to show that the feeling of solidarity is not dead. How often will one hear thousands of people singing along together to Hum Hain Pakistani?
To a nation getting increasingly frustrated with every passing day, cricket provides a pleasant departure for everyone. With the things to smile about decreasing everyday, the cricket crazy nation gets something to rejoice over.
It is almost blasphemous to say that Pakistanis are not patriotic. What the general affairs of the country cannot teach us about patriotism, cricket takes the reins there. On the shoulders of eleven men lie the dreams of 170 million people. The metamorphosis of the nation is visible; people dare to dream, to hope, to actually see the shreds of optimism – that silver lining that seemed so far away.
Nothing unites the Pakistani nation like a game of cricket does. No politician can do what a cricket match does. We are a cricket loving and a cricket crazy nation. The fanaticism for cricket is present in every Pakistani’s blood. We become one under the banner of cricket.
Is cricket our only hope?