A few weeks back one of the journalists from India asked Mushtaq Ahmed, The new bowling coach of Pakistan Cricket team, that what is the secret of the recent surge in their fortune. To a simple question his reply was “We are honest Muslim so we give 101 % in the field”. What does that mean? Others don’t give 100%? If one goes by the recent accounts of Pakistani player interview, there is a conscious effort to mix cricket with Islam. It all started with Sayeed Anwar. He started to grow a beard and slowly one by one Pakistani cricketers started to show off their newfound belief in Islam. The long list now reaches Shoaib Akhtar, once a bad boy of Pakistan Cricket.
Believing in one’s religion is in fact a soothing effect. It brings peace, calmness and clarity of mind. But does one really have to wear it on one’s sleeve all the time? The interview of Pakistani team is always ends with this question and answer as if it is recorded.
Q. What is the secret behind the recent success of Pakistan team?
A. We believe in Islam. We pray for 5 times a day. This has brought the team closer. There is a never-before unity in the team.
But once they started to loose matches to India in the ongoing series, talks of rift in the dressing room surfaces once again. The grapevine has it that Shoaib Akhtar’s injury is not the only reason for his ouster but differences with the captain is the real culprit. Dig deep and you get more disturbing news like, there is unrest brewing amongst the team and some players demanded the ouster of Captain Inzamam from the ODI captaincy.
So much for unity in the team? When a team is winning, all the dirty linen is pushed under the carpet. It’s all hunky-dory then. Players will put hands on each other’s shoulder; pose for photos, visit hospitals together, attend parties etc. Once the loosing started all these camaraderie make way for a blame game. And all the dirty linen is brought out and washed in the public. It’s the baggage failure brings along. Saurav Ganguly episode is the best example.
So please treat sports as sports and keep religion at hands length. The terrorists and extremists are already misusing it.