Pakistan v Australia Test 2 [scorecard]
Half a year ago I was one of these people who took the mickey out of Salman after he had suffered his personal Run-out-Gate, and Yousuf's press conference on the issue is still one of my favourite audio tracks. At that time no one would have suspected that Salman would captain the Pakistani Test team just a few months later and lead them to their first victory over Australia in 15 years. But after Pakistan had finished their tour in Down Under with disastrous results the PCB went rampant and blew the whole shop up. Salman had been in the contention for the captaincy but suddenly Afridi popped out of retirement and immediately climbed the throne, giving in to his compulsion against any better advice. I was fuming at that time and wishing that a hole in the ground would open and just engulf him. That didn't happen and Afridiland deservedly went overboard in the first Test against the Aussies. The Afridi bubble had burst after just one match, Boom Boom pulled out and generously appointed Salman as his heir to the throne. The Boomster must be having foam before his mouth witnessing that exactly this humble, rather inexperienced and frequently mocked opening batsman takes Pakistan to a historical triumph. This is no attempt to belittle the breathtaking performance of the Pakistani bowlers or Pakistan's vastly improved fielding, or the stubbornness of Punter, who would spontaneously combust if he opted to field. One also has to take into consideration that this match didn't take place in Pakistan or the UAE, which adds even more value to the victory. It was the perfect time for Pakistan to play in England, with an in-form Asif and Gul available and Aamer being his usual wicked self. Now the Pakistan team has the momentum (yes!) on their side and will face the English with heads held high. It might be a severe case of romanticisation if some people herald a new era in Pakistan cricket, one swallow does not make a summer and Pakistan's difficult journey to becoming a top-ranked Test nation has only just begun, but the foundation has been laid and can be built on. All the best to the Pakistani team and good luck for the matches against England.
|That fat old guy, behind who Mo Asif is forced to hide, shouldn't even be in the pic :/ (c) Getty Images|