Watching Pakistan play cricket was never easy. Usually, the anxiety kicked in from the first ball. Whether you were in the stadium, or glued to your TV set, it had become a habit for Pakistani fans to bite their nails and sit on the edge of their seats.
You expected to see at least three wickets gone in the first seven overs. After that victory meant asking for a miracle or wishing for the impossible to happen.
The stress. The nervousness. We had almost become used to it.
But then came a magician Babar Azam, who became the captain of the drowning ship that was Pakistan’s cricket. Who knew that this young man would change the fate of the sport in just a blink of an eye.
Under Azam’s captaincy, record opening partnerships by Muhammad Rizwan and Babar Azam solved many underlying issues that were being swept under the carpet. Rizwan remained unbeatable in both batting and wicket keeping. It wasn’t a surprise when he made a record with the most runs in the T20.
Then, came another rising star, Shaheen Afridi, who steered the way and took us to a whole new chapter of success and pride. He is indeed a great blessing to the Pakistan Cricket team.
This trio have become a spectacular team who defeated India in the World Cup for the very first time. These three are undoubtedly the goal setters of today just like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar were in the past.
The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T20 Team of the year award proves their immaculate skills and dedication. Their mere presence in the team is a sight of relief for the supporters and a reason of ultimate distress for the teams playing opposite them.
This trio is all set to lead their own teams now in the upcoming Pakistan Super League.
What a treat it would be to watch these exceptional players display the best of their shots and skills.
2022 has begun on a very encouraging note with Rizwan and Babar being awarded the ICC T20 cricketer of the year and ICC One Day International player of the year award respectively. Then Shaheen Afridi also received the ICC cricketer of the year award. These players don’t seem to miss any opportunity to make us proud it seems.
With these three in the team, bringing the ICC tournament trophy home doesn’t seem to be an unachievable dream.
Way to go guys! bring it on!
Hashmi is a television anchor at Geo News. He tweets @Mubashir_Hashmi