There’s no I in team

And no Malik and Amir either, thankfully

We made it to the final, yes, even if we didn’t get the Asia Cup. But our boys, forgive us the schmaltz, did win some hearts along the way. Like they did when they played in last year’s T20 World Cup. Yes, beating sporting nemesis India (which they did, then and now) certainly does help in generating some goodwill with the people, but it is primarily the sportsmanship and good manners of the current squad that seals the deal in that department.

It is those very same qualities that seem to be in short supply when it comes to our retired and almost-retired cricketers. First, there was Shoaib Malik, who implied in a tweet that skipper Babar includes his personal cliques in the team. Then there was a schoolboy jibe that Muhammad Amir hurled at the chief selector and his “cheap” selections. These two gentlemen, specially Malik, feel it was wrong to edge them out of the team. But there are other players that have retired since a while that aren’t acting appropriately either. There’s the Rawalpindi Express, with his complaints against some of the players selected for the upcoming WCT20 squad. And then, there’s Shahid Afridi, who claimed on live television that Pakistani pacer – his son-in-law-to-be – Shaheen Afridi paid for a surgical procedure in the UK out of his own pocket, a claim denied by PCB chief Rameez Raja. But the PR damage done by implying the Board wasn’t footing the medical bills of its star player, ranked as last year’s ICC Cricketer of the Year, would have rankled.

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This lot should take a lead out of Fawad Alam’s book. Consistently fabulous stats in domestic cricket and criminally overlooked, yet suffers with grace and aplomb. Or Sarfraz Ahmed, who captained us to our Championships Trophy win, with a team that had barely made the cut to play it in the first place and cheers on the team as if he were on the playing squad. And then, there’s the profile in grace and team spirit that is Hassan Ali, star of the aforementioned Champions Trophy. Having lost out his place in the squad to Naseem Shah, he cheered the former’s winning sixes by rushing onto the field as if they were his own, regardless of what they might permanently do to his position on the team.

The difference between champion athletes and sportsmen might not show up on tournament statistics. But we can see it at times like these.

Editorial
The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]

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