Heads high, but feet on the ground
How are the mighty fallen or, in its mocking Americanised version, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Since last year England was on top of the world, Rule Britannica the watchword in the cricketing empire. They had won the prized Ashes from the ancient enemy, and only last summer displaced the then Test match world No 1 India from its perch in a rude four-nil drubbing. Pakistan cricket on the other hand was floundering in a quicksand of its own making, a bull’s-eye of cataclysms and scandals which need no repetition here, but which shook the entire cricketing world and left the local fans ashamed and demoralised. Pakistan cricket was torn between fears of terror attacks on the one hand, and the deadly sins of spot-fixing, ball-tampering and treachery, dishonesty and greed on the other, and it seemed that ‘no art could eradicate them’. Nothing was being reaped by our cricketers except ill-will and ire. And there also was the pain and embarrassment of playing ‘home’ series in foreign climes.
Pakistan had its back to the wall, but in this case it is the wall that has crumbled. After the ringleader of 2010’s ‘alarming occurrences’ was removed from the scene (courtesy ironically the British criminal justice system), the new-look, weaker but clean, united and focussed outfit has staged the most amazing of comebacks, indeed has been on a rampage against all comers. And the crème de la crème has undoubtedly been the totally unexpected whitewashing of the formidable British lion. A tribute to the endearing Pakistani qualities of endurance and resilience, with each of our boys the embodiment of these attributes with a never-say-die spirit. What else could so well demonstrate that once-in-a-century phenomenon: bowled out for less than a hundred runs and yet delivering the coup de grace.
The team must carry this ‘hungry’ will to win in the hard encounters to come. Our boys must not stop half-way, or rest on their laurels. They must keep their head and hold their catches (the latter quality was somewhat lacking in the recent series). Celebrate and rejoice we all must, but we must also keep things in perspective: we’ve had the satisfaction of beating the World No 1 side, no mean achievement that, but we have not won ourselves that status yet. There still is many a chink in the armour. The whitewash must not make us gloss over it. Above all, we must guard against complacency and overconfidence, the sworn enemies of further successes.