Surviving the World Cup

The post-World Cup cleanout began before the final. Mickey Arthur has been sacked as Chief Coach. Morne Morkel resigned as bowling coach even before South Africa, for whom he had played, was knocked out of the tournament by Australia. Babar Azam, perhaps disappointed at losing his chance at becoming PM, resigned as captain. As he was captain in all three formats, he left a big hole, and one which meant that three current players could be accommodated, instead of one former player.

His replacements have been made in two formats, with the third to be decided later. One of the reasons for the two replacements is that there are series in those formats coming up, a Test series against Australia and a T20 series against New Zealand. When an ODI series comes up, that slot too will be filled.

The persons picked are interesting. I suspect that whoever does better will be picked as ODI skipper first, and then overall skipper later on. Shan Masood does not seem handsome enough to be picked as the next candidate for the same page. However, Shaheen Afridi does, not to forget that he has a powerful father-in-law in Shahid Afridi. The problem there is that the chances of Shaheen Afridi being silly enough to stray are remote. Contrary to the stereotype, Pakhtuns are not stupid, and know what’s what. So he probably won’t do anything that would get him in trouble. One presumes that Imran is rooting in jail for Shan Masood to become captain in all three formats. One of his deathly fears is being replaced as being on the same page.

He should realize that he is in Adiala Jail, under arrest, and wherever he might be, it’s not on the same page.

However, the backroom boys are right where they were at the beginning of the tournament: in the backroom. Zaka Ashraf is going nowhere, and has managed to get the caretaker PM to give him a three-month extension. That would take him just past the coming election, not to mention the Test and T20 series Down Under. Thus his replacement will be a purely political decision and have nothing to do with the World Cup.

Thr UK has been undergoing turmoil recently, with the resignation of the Home Secretary and her replacement by the Foreign Secretary. And his replacement by David Cameron, the ex-PM. He’s not the first ex-PM to become Foreign Secretary, the first being Sir Alec Douglas-Home back in the 1960s. Sir Alec had a hard time of it, if you think of it. He gave up his Earldom, and his membership of the House of Lords, to become a member of the Commons and to lead the Tory Party as PM. But after falling from office in 1964 (after being beaten in a general election), he stayed in the Commons, serving as Foreign Secretary when the Tories returned to power. After theory lost office in 1974, he went back to the Lords as a life peer.

It was a bit of a reverse, like Shahid Khaqan Abbasi becoming Foreign Minister in a Nawaz Cabinet. Gohar Ayub served first as Foreign Minister, then as Speaker, not becoming PM. He passed away recently, with his son Umar as PTI Secretary-General. Umar made his appearance in public for the first time since May 9, without the customary press conference.

It made me realize that the English think of the establishment differently from us. We’ve got more of an American view of the matter, as we take the word to mean a mixture of the military, the bureaucracy and the judiciary. The English use it to mean the special place of the Church of England, which is the official religion of England. Not Christianity, but specifically the Church of England brand. Roman Catholics and Protestants (Dissenters) are Christian, but they are deviants. In short, they are anti-Establishment. No, they’re not guilty of a May 9-style rebellion, they just don’t think the Church of England should be the Established Church.

One of the things about the Church of England is that its head, its Pope if you will, is the monarch. So if you’re against having your Church headed by someone with weird beliefs, like Charles, or an old roué like Edward VII, you would be anti-establishment. Over here,it seems, being anti-establishment seems to mean objecting to having any sort of pope.



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