Bad weather leaves enthusiastic cricket fans dejected

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Pakistan's captain Azhar Ali (C) walks back to the pavilion along with teammates after the game has stopped due to bad light conditions during the second day of the first Test cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on December 12, 2019. — AFP/File
Pakistan's captain Azhar Ali (C) walks back to the pavilion along with teammates after the game has stopped due to bad light conditions during the second day of the first Test cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on December 12, 2019. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: Although the rainy season here has played havoc with the historic Pakistan vs Sri Lanka match of the ICC World Test Championship, the enthusiasm of cricket fans has been a salient feature, particularly among the youngsters.

Despite being Saturday’s fourth day also falling prey to the weather, the spectators — who understandably are very few in numbers — made their way into the Pindi Cricket Stadium with the hope of watching at least some action, while braving the chilly winds and light drizzle.

A group of girls — all of whom are students of the Fatima Jinnah Women’s College in Rawalpindi — were second time lucky in entering the near-empty stadium in spite of the fact they won’t be seeing any cricket.

“We were here on Wednesday as well but didn’t get the opportunity to see the game because the ground authorities refused us entry by stating ‘just go away because the enclosure is full’. That was very upsetting since we’ve come here to see our stars play in front of us,” they told Dawn just before heading towards the stands.

Hira Liaqat, who along with Sadia Azam and Iqra Zainab are all first semester software engineering batch-mates, said she is a fan of Shaheen Shah Afridi but her favourite cricketer is former Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

“In fact, I’m not the only one who likes Sarfraz, both Sadia and Iqra also are ardent fans of Sarfraz. We love him because he’s very cute with a great smile!”

Auqudas Zahra, who is a student in the department of chemistry at the same varsity, expressed mixed emotions when she quipped: “At the onset we were looking forward to being part of history. But the rain and bad light not only curtailed the Test but also dampened our spirits. After being turned away on the first day, we were desperate to see the game today but it all ended like a bad dream.”

Asfandyar Ali, Haroon Naeem, Faisal Sajjad, Talha Afzal and Ali Haider are all close friends studying at the Comsats University in Islamabad. Just before Saturday’s play was abandoned, these young boys were in jovial mood as they made their way towards the stand.

“We are very, very excited to be here and are looking forward to have first glimpses of our Pakistan players,” Asfandyar said while his pals nodded in agreement. “It is just great for our country to be hosting Test cricket again after so many years. This is our first time at the Pindi Cricket Stadium but we saw the last Test played in Rawalpindi when India won in 2006. Then all of us were too young to remember but we did see Rahul Dravid score 270 on TV.”

But all these youngsters were left disappointed shortly afterwards when the play was called off for the day.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2019