Why are my hot-blooded Pakistani friends going completely bananas over an Australian player to the extent of craving to claim him as their representative in the Australian national side ("our boy", quote) so badly that they are suddenly actually watching the Ashes -only on the days when he's batting-, and on top of that even grant the honour of the insane Afridi-madness to an Aussie, who, on another occasion, is certainly going to mercilessly belt the shit out of their home side with not the slightest wish to fraternise?
Because Uzzy is a bloody phenomenon.
His phenomenality is composed of four factors:
He is a Muslim. With only more than 360.000 (and growing) Muslim inhabitants in a sparsely populated immigration country like Australia, and half of them living in the cricket capital Sydney (NSW!) alone, chances that one of them will take a bat in hand are about zero.
Even more astounding is the fact that he was actually born in Pakistan. Only millions of other people are born in Pakistan as well, and just thousands and thousands of them have migrated to countries all over the world, a mere vast majority being completely cricket-mad, and only a few dozen national sides in the world consist almost entirely of Pakistan-born players, so Uzzy looking promising is nothing short of a miracle.
Thirdly and incomprehensibly he is a damn fine cricketer. The few poor preconditions he combines in him, like truckloads of talent, explosive temperament and determination, a quick wit and remarkably fine education, an utterly supportive family and the possibly best development system at Australian state level really leave me wondering how in all the world he even managed to pop his head out, not to mention grab the cap.
Lastly, as we all know, Cricket Australia are extremely keen on keeping players originating from ethnic and religious minorities out of the national side, they would *never* even think of carrying them like life-sized posters in front of themselves, proudly wielding said images in order to assure themselves and the whole world of how multicultural and exemplarily tolerant and integrative modern Australia is (especially if said players are trying to cover up their lowly origin with a first class average of over 50, the worst local accent since Callum Ferguson, the rightful compulsion to correct their Australian-born teammates' abysmal spelling, and a sense of humour that features up-cracking pisstakes on their country of birth).
So if you total these four factors that basically make it impossible for a guy like Uzzy to ever get selected for any international appearances with Australia, you can only come to one conclusion: Uzzy, you beautiful, energetic, buzzing, hilarious, sharp-witted, talent-packed thing that should not be, but which the Australian national mopes so desperately needed.
(contains a marvellous sample of his sense of humour, illustrating how he deals with the idiotic amounts of expectations piled onto him, and the various attempts to utilise him just for who he is)
Uz Uz Hurrah!
related: Ashes Test 5 [scorecard]