01 December, 2020

A Catch In The Deep

The Faith over the pitch. The Pakistan team is riven over the players' souls.

AP
A Catch In The Deep
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Long before the Islamists discovered their frightening zeal, Pakistani cricketers were considered a paragon of modern Muslims: they played flamboyantly, partied hard and didn't flaunt their religion publicly. They were the playboys of their times—suave, educated and dashing; they had their one-night stands, clubbed and tippled; as great exponents of reverse swing as they were ardent admirers of fine legs. They had the lifestyle only stars have—in any country, of any sport, of any religious persuasion.

Those days of cricketing insouciance are now memory, as are so many other aspects of secular life in Pakistan. Every prize presentation ceremony has captain Inzamam-ul-Haq begin his soundbite with "Bismillah (In the name of Allah)"; players huddle to pray on the ground during pre-match preparations; 'Islamic beards' are sported as an advertisement of their faith; batsmen have been known to cramp up because they fast and play during Ramzan.

The responsibility for this fervent religiosity are a clutch of players—Inzy, Mushtaq Ahmed...
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