14 Bravehearts in No Man’s Land

When 14 of the most Braveheart Cricketers under the leadership of  Faf du Plessis toured a cricket-mad yet completely devoid public, they not only gave them a chance once again to breathe the most popular sport of the country but it gave the game another chance to stand up after being in lurches for almost a decade 

It was Wills World Cup 1996 when Two Asian cricket giants co-hosted the event, a clear mark of the power paradigm which was shifting towards Indian Subcontinent. However, what was even more remarkable was that both of them formed a team and went on to play in Sri Lanka, where two previous World Cup champions, West Indies and Australia had refused to play due to the civil war which destroyed Country’s progress for almost 20 years. In those days the war was at its peak but what was commendable was that the combined team of India and Pakistan not only played but it showed where there is will there is a way. It was Humanity which won that day.  

21 years later things have changed considerably in International Cricket, India have become a global powerhouse in terms of Cricket. BCCI and Cricket have become synonyms and power in International Cricket is decided on the basis on which side India is standing. On the other hand, Pakistan Cricket’s power declined by the end of the previous decade with a terrorist attack on the Cricketers meant that one of the most passionate fans in the game of cricket was devoid of the Sports taking place in the country for almost a decade.

In such a situation Zimbabwe toured in 2015, but the conditions didn’t improve dramatically, and cricket playing countries continued to consider it risky to travel Pakistan. Even smaller teams like Bangladesh refused to tour Pakistan, and the country kept sliding down the line regarding their hold on International Cricket.

In such a moment when ICC decided to send a team made of International Cricketers, there were quite a few eyebrows which were raised, but while ICC was determined to bring the game to Pakistan, It started preparing a list of 14 players who were willing to travel to Pakistan. Luckily it didn’t take much time for the governing body of the game to make a team of 14 players who were willing to travel to the country.

There were multiple questions which were raised from those who were willing to travel in a country which in 8 years of hiatus have become a land where no international cricketer has wished to go. This time though ICC selected players who were more than willing to go the country and show that security concerns have eased up and the people deserve to witness more international cricket happening. This was the reason when Grant Elliot was asked about whether there is a risk in touring Pakistan he clearly asserted “ If players were not feeling safe we wouldn’t have gone”. 

 Pakistan, is a country fighting on war on many fronts, situation have considerably improved than what it was a few years back and hosting an International Team would have been a great sign that the country is slowly and steadily returning to stability. There is a generation of young boys and girls, teenagers who had never seen their own team play in front of their eyes, 8 and half years; almost a decade is a huge time in any matter. This was an occasion to grace some of the finest players of their time live in front of their eyes. It was a moment to savour for them, the high prices and intense security couldn’t buzz the enthusiasm of even the youngest of fans. They were celebrating the festival of cricket, something which the country have always graced. Like Paul Controlling said “ Cricket is religion in Pakistan’’, everything comes after it.  

Pakistan won the series 2-1 but seldom was anyone interested in the result of the series. It also didn’t matter that series didn’t showcase any high class of cricket between two sides for every eye was set on winning a battle which Cricket was fighting outside, a threat to the existence of the game in the country. For it was pertinent to show that terrorism cannot win over mankind.

This was the reason why it was not Sarfaraz’s team who won the series, neither it was World XI who lost the trophy, but it was 14 Brave hearts who defeated every odd to ensure that Humanity comes up triumph and give hope to a nation whose lifeline is Cricket. 


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