I was built to be the best
Number one and nothing less
Leave me to my destiny
I have waited patiently
I have vision’ oh I believe
I know I can count on me
So stand up for the champions
For the champions stand up
Stand up stand up
For the champions for the champions……..
And it goes on…Apt lyric and melodious and catchy tune.
There is no reason why the Pakistan cricket fans and other cricket enthusiasts should not be singing this song late on 14th evening or before in Rouseau, Dominica which could be very late night or early hours of 15th morning in Pakistan if the third and final Test vs the West Indies is wrapped up and the rubber won 2-1.
This will be the first time that Pakistan would have won a Test series in the Caribbean since the beginning of cricket relations between the two teams in 1957 – 60 years ago.
“Stand Up….” Is a song by the British Band ‘Right Said Fred’ which they composed and sang in 2002. This song has become very popular on sports fields throughout the world for various events.
In USA it is often sung by some National Football League Teams. It was the entrance song for South African heavyweight boxer ‘Sniper’ Sanders on the day he beat WBO Champion Klitschko for his title in Hannover in March, 2003.
The Swedish floorball teams have used it and the Zambian High School Volleyball Champions have sung it after winning their matches. It was also used in the medal ceremony of the LEN European Swimming Championships in Hungary in 2010. In other words, it has universal popularity.
The song became popular in cricket and in particular Pakistan cricket when it was played at Lord’s during the 2009 T20 Cricket World Cup when Pakistan’s national cricket team beat Sri Lanka in the final and lifted the ICC World T/20I Trophy under the captainship of Younis Khan.
Before brief comments on the state of play in Rouseau let us once again salute and pay rich tributes to the two “great gentlemen” of Pakistan cricket who have played their final innings in international cricket.
Though neither set the ground ablaze (who could on a pitch as slow, painful and unpredictable as the track at Rouseau) it was heartwarming to see them come and go from the crease through a “guard of honour” by the Pakistan team as well as the West Indies side.
The cricket in Dominica has been painful with all the plodding and the patting and scratching. The pitch has been an enigma. Jason Holder must be ruing his decision to invite Pakistan to have first use of the pitch
Holder and his troops must be complimented for the respect they demonstrated to two of the greatest players ever to tread on to a cricket ground. I am sure more “Three Cheers” and many mementoes and awards await them at the end of the Third Test, regardless of the outcome of the Test and the series.
The other stalwarts on the brink of retirement should take a page out of the books of these two and retire with grace and dignity rather than depart in agony and acrimony. Once again we must as cricket enthusiasts express our gratitude to the Man from Mianwali and the Pathan from Mardan for providing us such joy and pleasure in cricket.
The cricket in Dominica has been painful with all the plodding and the patting and scratching. The pitch has been an enigma. Jason Holder must be ruing his decision to invite Pakistan to have first use of the pitch.
Azhar Ali played a laborious innings with grit and determination to notch up his 14th hundred in Tests (127 in 334 balls; strike rate 38%). He anchored the innings of the team under adverse circumstances.
With half centuries from Babar, Misbah and Sarfaraz, Pakistan managed 376. This may turn out to be a match-winning score. West Indies have only three bowlers worth their salt – Gabriel, Holder and Bishoo; and most of their fielders are butter-fingered both in the air and on the ground.
The West Indian batting, with utmost respect, is even more mediocre. Except for the openers and Roston Chase and lower down the order to the captain himself, they do not provide much resistance to the fire of Amir, the wobbling swing of the new comer Mohammad Abbas and the wile, guile, turn and bite and bounce of Yasir Shah particularly on the spiteful and venomous pitch.
Pakistan’s fielding can improve a few notches and it is time that our selectors seriously think in terms of getting two first rate all rounders.
The fans having been fed with a surfeit of slam-bang of T/20s, Leagues, Challenges, Bashes, have lost an appetite for Test cricket. Add to this the latest criticism by coaches, commentators, analysts, experts and management that Pakistan do not play modern cricket (whatever that is) the spectators are bored of fight backs and “wars” of attrition and nerves.
The finer points are not important. They do not enjoy and appreciate a keen tussle between bat and ball.
Because a Test Match is in progress I will refrain from any comments on other matters. These include the selection for the Champions Trophy Squad, the increasing entanglement in the so-called spot fixing inquiry by the Asghar Haider Tribunal in progress, the PCB Chief’s comments on the MOU/Contract with India and the clarifications, the term of the Board of Governors, the PSL venues for its third edition.
The “rumours” about Misbah being appointed as an ICC Match Referee and Younis taking up the job of Batting Director for the Afghanistan Team. Also the all important matter of the Chairman PCB’s resignation and replacement.
Have matters now changed that Shashank Manohar has agreed to continue as Chairman of ICC for another year and a half? All these can wait for another time.
I must however add my prayers and good wishes for the speedy recovery of the mother of Ahmad Shahzad, as well as extend congratulations to him and Mrs. Shahzad on the birth of their child; and also hope that Ahmad returns to full fitness and form post haste.
A final word about the final Test at Rouseau. If Pakistan does not win this one and the series, they may not get another chance. And also there will be many, many questions asked. So best of luck and we shall prepare to “Stand up for the Champions.”