T20 Cricket Wins----A Metaphor For Life in Pakistan

Pakistanis are often characterized by stories of "individual excellence" and "collective failures" on the world stage. And there is some evidence to support such a characterization in Pakistan and abroad. However, the recent string of seven T20 international cricket wins, including the 2020 world championship, by Shahid Afridi's boys demonstrates the potential for collective success under competent and spirited leadership.

Cricket in Pakistan is more than a national obsession; it is a metaphor for life. Pakistani cricket is endowed with tremendous raw talent. But the national team captains have often failed in translating it into significant success in major international events. The last time Pakistan won the Cricket World Cup was in 1992. The T20 cricket has been marked by much improved quality of Pakistani leadership recently. After the seventh straight 2020 win against New Zealand today in Dubai, the energized Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi gave credit to the good teamwork among the T20 squad. Unlike Pakistan's rulers, Afridi is not a feudal prince. He has not inherited the cricket leadership position. He has earned it by working hard and by showing the ability to lead people to success.

Speaking from my own experience, I have seen some of the brightest and most successful individuals from Pakistan in Silicon Valley. They are top business executives, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, researchers and professionals contributing to the success of Silicon Valley. Most came from Pakistan's middle class with good education but little or no money. They attended some of the best universities in America and joined some of the top companies before starting out on their own to become professionally and financially successful. Many have also demonstrated their leadership skills in an environment that promotes meritocracy.

Unfortunately, meritocracy in politics has never thrived in Pakistan, at least in part because landowning remains almost the only social base from which national leadership can emerge. In general, the educated middle class in Pakistan and the talented leaders from urban areas are largely excluded from competing for the top positions in government, and denied a chance to provide the badly needed leadership to achieve collective national success.

In spite of the current and past failures of national political leadership, I am optimistic about the future of Pakistan. With the robust economic growth averaging 7 percent and availability of millions of new jobs created between 2000 and 2008, there has been increased rural to urban migration in Pakistan to fill the jobs in growing manufacturing and service sectors. The level of urbanization in Pakistan is now the highest in South Asia, and its urban population is likely to equal its rural population by 2030, according to a report titled ‘Life in the City: Pakistan in Focus’, released by the United Nations Population Fund. Pakistan ranks 163 and India at 174 on a list of over 200 countries compiled by Nationmaster. The urban population now contributes about three quarters of Pakistan's gross domestic product and almost all of the government revenue. The industrial sector contributes over 27% of the GDP, higher than the 19% contributed by agriculture, with services accounting for the rest of the GDP.

With the shifting demographics over this decade and the next, the center of political power is expected to move from rural to urban Pakistan, opening up the opportunities for more competent national leaders to emerge from the educated urban middle class. Combining the considerable individual talent in Pakistan with improved leadership should pave the way for turning Pakistan's collective failure into collective national success.

Related Link:

Pakistan Crowned 2020 World Champions

Pakistani Entrepreneurs' Silicon Valley Summit

Urbanization in Pakistan Highest in Asia

Ode to Feudal Prince of Pakistan

Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?

NEDUET Alumni in Silicon Valley


Riaz Haq said…
t’s not #Pakistan versus Opposition but Pakistan versus Pakistan, says ex #Australia #Cricket captain Ricky Ponting.“Pakistan beats whoever they want to beat and they lose from whoever they want to..." #CWC2019 https://www.crictracker.com/its-not-pakistan-versus-opposition-but-pakistan-versus-pakistan-says-ricky-ponting/ via @cricketracker

Pakistan’s strange repetition of their 1992 mission in 2019 so far has left a lot of people flummoxed. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side won their second successive game on Wednesday after losing to India and it was against New Zealand who were unbeaten thus far. The Men in Green’s sequence of match results in this World Cup has gone identical to the 1992 campaign and a lot of Pakistani supporters have started predicting their second title victory this year.

However, Pakistan are yet to go through to the semi-finals and besides winning their remaining two matches, they will also be praying that results in other games in the tournament go in their favour. They have seven points from as many games and are tied with Bangladesh. England, on the other hand, have eight from seven after two successive defeats while Sri Lanka have six in six.

While the World Cup has opened up because of Pakistan’s sudden resurgence, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has come up with a unique observation on the 1992 champions. The two-time World Cup winning captain said: “Pakistan beats whoever they want to beat and they lose from whoever they want to. Its not Pakistan vs the opposition. Its Pakistan vs Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

The most unpredictable side in the world
Pakistan’s unpredictability is something that has always come up in discussion. Their captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has also been heard saying ahead of the tournament that the ‘unpredictable’ tag actually helps them. Their inconsistent campaign had indeed vindicated their unpredictability. While they stunned a strong England by 14 runs after getting thrashed by the West Indies by 7 wickets in their opening match, they beat South Africa and New Zealand in back-to-back games after losing to Australia and India that had pushed them on the brink.

India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel also echoed Ponting’s thoughts ahead of the Pakistan-New Zealand match on Wednesday. Speaking on Star Sports during the pre-match analysis, the cricketer said that Pakistan’s main opponents are Pakistan themselves.

The Men in Green next play Afghanistan in the World Cup while their final game is against Bangladesh and if England lose both their games and the Asian sides win their next games, that match promises to be a virtual quarter-final.

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