What's wrong with our Kaptaans?

Published August 19, 2014
It’s hard to judge whether Misbah or Imran is more childishly obstinate.
It’s hard to judge whether Misbah or Imran is more childishly obstinate.

Sunday wasn’t good to the kaptaans from Mianwali.

That’s an understatement, of course. The weekend more or less ended their plans of winning, or anything they might have had in the way of a plan to win.

While the younger kaptaan is guilty of being caught twice in two days off the same bowler he was confident of handling a few days ago, the elder one appears guilty of being bowled off his own yorkers (as physically impossible as that sounds). He is stubbornly holding his ground, refusing to leave the pitch until a neutral umpire comes out to send him off.

Why aren’t you leaving the pitch, Imran? Does it take a neutral umpire to call out a shattered-stumps dismissal?

What on earth is wrong with our captains these days?

It’s hard to judge which one - Misbahul Haq or Imran Khan - is more childishly obstinate, refusing to admit their flaws.

One keeps regurgitating his now-notorious ‘stability and calm’ slogan, unable to comment on the many technical shortcomings of his players (on account of being the most handicapped player himself).

The other’s ‘cornered tigers’ are looking to break their cages, threatening to attack the zookeepers and then take over the zoo themselves.

Know more: PTI’s latest move

So, why is all this happening and what did we do to deserve this?

The real explanation must be more than a strategy gone awry. That’s been happening with these two for some time now.

Misbah’s case is more complicated, and intertwined with his team. His misery ended yesterday with a familiar ending to a done-to-death script. So let’s leave him for another day.

The PTI chairman’s cause, however, is supposed to be the awaam’s cause and is ongoing. So please, humour me when I ask, why civil disobedience?

In his self-proclaimed ‘speech of a lifetime’ and ‘final match’ on Sunday, Imran performed more somersaults than viewers could keep up with.

“I want to storm this ‘fake parliament’ and the Prime Minister House, and hold Nawaz by the neck and subject him to ruthless accountability,” he remarked, only to add, “But we believe in a peaceful struggle.”

Umm... OK.

“Don’t pay taxes!” he exclaimed, to add much later: “Do pay them to the KP government, just not to the federal government."


“I have no difficulty in going 40 hours without sleep, so you’ll find me right here all the time... though not everyone is a former cricketer like me.”

Excuse me?

“This is a peaceful, constitutional march. But I’m telling you Mr Prime Minister, I can guarantee their peace only till the next two days. After that, I don’t know what this lot might do!”

Again, what?

Nobody likes thwacking a falling man (especially when it's Imran Khan, whose purity of heart not even his enemies dare question), but this weekend was an exceptional case:

I will settle for no less than a resignation from the Prime Minister... also, here’s civil disobedience!

Our demands are perfectly democratic, but this monarchy is no democracy...we won’t resign from the KP assembly.

We have no problems sitting in for a week - no, scratch that, two days sounds better.

I think Hamlet had an easier time contemplating suicide.

Also read: The Pied Piper and the lost children

It was funny when Imran started off with the threat of continuing the sit-in for a week and later changed it to 48 hours on the crowd's demand. It was amusing when he stood completely drenched and tried to comfort his audience: "This rain, this rain is a blessing for us!"

But it stopped being funny after he was heard hammering into his impressionable followers over and over, that after 48 hours pass, they’d be free to take over the zoo however they wished.


Where did our kaptaan from ‘92 go?

When did the fire get replaced by seeming greed and desperation?

I love it every time Imran is asked to comment on Pakistani cricket. He always rises above the petty arguments to say:

“Look, players are produced by institutions, by proper domestic structures. Without the right system, you just can’t have the right product.”

On the field, he used to boast disciplined aggression, marshalling (not martialling) his men to outperform themselves.

And what do we have now on in his place? We have an eccentric leader armed only with stale, defensive tactics; bizarre bowling changes and a batting ethic which may well deserve to be put on trial in court.

One thing Misbah does supposedly bring to the table is much-needed ‘stability and calm’ in the middle order.

I ask then, could we switch our kaptaans around?

Wouldn’t it be great to have the tiger back in his greens and the turtle in parliament, bringing a calm to our political middle (dis)order?

They’re both hard-headed men, used to ignoring good advice in favour of personal whims.

They both rode the ‘least evil’ argument to their current leadership roles.

And they’re both heading personality cults, with their teams suffering from cultist dynamics.

So, can we switch knight with knight and see if that makes the rain come down in the right match, next Sunday?



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