Sports: The Sights and Sounds of Cricket

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by Syed Irfan Ahmed

Waqar Younis walks back up to his mark, polishing the ball on his pants, turns, a hush falls across the ground, he comes running in, bowls85and got em!!! He cleans up Graham Gooch! Sends the middle stump cartwheeling! So England has lost its first wicket85

There is something very powerful about watching a fast bowler in his full cry. It is like a tiger pouncing on his prey as the bowler launches into his run up, gathers speed and momentum, steams in for a full forty yards and delivers an express delivery with speeds in excess of 95 mph. The likes of Brett Lee, Shane Bond and Shoaib Akhtar do it on a regular basis. Fired up, they are a menace to the opposing team. Yet they make it look so easy, lighting up the arenas around the world and driving the fans wild. Fans throng to the cricket stadiums because there is something about the moment when a batsman plays and misses a ball and a chorus of “Ooooh!” goes up. There is definitely something about the moment, when a batsman like Adam Gilchrist sets about taking the bowling apart all by himself, sending a flurry of 4’s and 6’s all around the ground and the bowler watches in disbelief.

That is the moment when cricket fans from all across the world find their bond with the game just a little bit stronger. They take pride in the rich culture of this game, mindful of the legends it has helped create, such as Sir Don Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Colin Cowdrey, Lala Amarnath, Haneef Mohammed and Glen Turner to name a few.

To me there is no better sight and experience than watching a cricket game in progress if I am not in it. I can still remember that day in November in the mid-eighties, when I went to watch a cricket game between West Indies and Pakistan. At 9:30 in the morning National Stadium in Karachi was full of screaming fans. Winning the toss, Windies put Pakistan in first and set about the demolition process. As the innings started, the whole stadium went quiet, awe struck! Michael Holding, who seemed to almost start from the boundary, came charging in from the pavilion end. When that ball flew by Sadiq Mohammed at over 90 miles per hour, he had a jab at the ball and missed. As a cricketer, I imagined that Sadiq must have felt the whoosh! The mighty West Indians had their pace quartet with Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner operating in tandem and got Pakistan out for a paltry sum. The sights and sounds of that game are still as fresh in my mind as they were that day. Pakistan did boast of having Imran Khan, one of the four finest all-rounders in the world at the time but Windies proved way too much to handle.

Cricket has come a long way from it roots. Modern cricket is fast and exciting. Due to its glamour and appeal, it is very popular among the masses in India and Pakistan.

It is common to find kids having a game on the road when motorists are speeding by. Some of the most exciting cricketers of subcontinent got their starts that way. In fact, the stars of the future are probably there right now.

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