Monthly Archives: March 2012

Our Earth Hours

The world is celebrating Earth hour today from 8:30 pm till 9:30 pm. All non-essential lights would be turned off and our attentions would be directed towards the need to do something positive and control the climatic changes that our earth is undergoing. We in Pakistan, are also experiencing climate changes; we have awfully prolonged seasons, untimely monsoons and all sorts of unexpected things happening in our climate. Of course all this is part of the global climate change and we’re just experiencing our chunk of it. It is a dire need therefore to celebrate earth hour and highlight the importance of making efforts to bring things under control before it gets too late.

The above paragraph reflects a genuine thought which I had before coming to terms with reality and realizing the fact that I am a Pakistani. I am a citizen of a country where even unconsciously or unintentionally we are serving our planet far better than the rest of the world.

The western world celebrates earth hour on the last Saturday of March every year. We however, celebrate it every day; thrice a day. From the moment we wake up in the morning till the moment we go back to sleep at night, we celebrate earth hours at regular intervals. We celebrate it more and we celebrate it better. We don’t even have our essential lights turned on, leave alone the non-essential ones.

People leave work while celebrating earth hour in their offices and when they reach their homes, earth hour begins there as well. Earth hour in one area is usually succeeded by an earth hour in another area. Sometimes the care increases too much for our planet and we celebrate earth ‘one and a half‘ hour or maybe even 2 earth hours together. This happens mainly because we truly endorse the logo of earth hour and we believe in 60+.

Reduction in power consumption helps save the earth. For us, we aren’t yet sure about the availability of the power which is to be consumed. Earth hour is celebrated to combine individual efforts and see the collective results. In our case, the collective failure of our system results in individuals celebrating earth hour.

Hammad A. Mateen


A spell they couldn’t cast

Misbah-ul-Haq eventually lifted the Asia Cup 2012 last night but not without a sigh of relief. It was a nail-biting encounter and the post-match celebrations all over the country gave proof of the release of tension which the whole of Pakistan had experienced. Many were jubilant over Pakistan winning the Asia cup for the 2nd time, many just joining the party for no obvious reasons and some like me wondering what all these people are so excited about; We beat Bangladesh, and for the 29th time in 30 games.

What I did realize though was that this was not the same Bangladesh we were used to beating up every time. This side had tasted victory and that too over difficult opponents. They didn’t go out onto the field without a plan anymore. They had method to their game and a little flare to go with it. They gave Pakistan a tough time and made sure the match was evenly poised till the very last delivery.

They were all tears which told the world how much it meant for this side to come so close to glory and yet remain so far. I was touched, and so were a few more of my friends who promptly texted me inquiring if we really did deserve to win. Deep down somewhere, we do enjoy an underdog beat the heck out of top sides in the world. Also deep down somewhere, we didn’t like the way Misbah was martialling the troops. We don’t like tears anyway, at least if Bangladesh would’ve won, we wouldn’t have seen the Pakistan team crying.

On the other hand, what we would’ve seen shouldn’t also be discounted so early. Remember the 1999 world cup? Oh we remember all right! The arrogance and the conceit displayed by the Bangladesh side and specially their Prime Minister with her remarks regarding the 1971 war. I spotted her last night on television also sitting and watching the match in the stadium but she wasn’t to be seen anywhere after the last ball was bowled.

I was just reading today in the newspaper about Mushfiq-ur-Raheem claiming prior to the match that this would just be a formality to be completed, Bangladesh will win for sure. If the news is true, no wonder he was crying; anyone in his shoes would’ve done that after being reminded about the old saying: “Pride hath a fall.”

As a neutral, it is definitely heartening to see a side finally come of age 12 years after attaining the test status (which by the way is still questionable). They played outstanding cricket and announced their presence in great style. What will be interesting though would be to see if they can be consistent with their performance and prove themselves in different conditions and against different oppositions.

As far as Pakistan and Tuc Tuc are concerned, well… never mind!

Hammad A. Mateen

Not another Tendulkar please …

India’s great victory over Pakistan in an epic run chase of 330 was not very pleasing to the eye as a Pakistani but as a cricket fan it was surely something worth watching.

I’m a little fed up listening to the experts and commentators praising Umar Akmal and calling him ‘The future of Pakistan.’ Rameez Raja once got a bit too emotional and compared him with Inzamam-ul-Haq which I’m not sure would’ve gone down well with Big Inzi bhai.

A glimpse of the future however was to be seen for the Indian team when Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were on the crease. I was forced to compare the maturity and talent of Kohli with our very own Umar ‘Super’ Akmal and the difference was quite noticeable.

Kohli was fluent, flamboyant, stylish, technical and very effective at the same time. He’s the type of player who leaves an impact on the game and that’s what he did that night against Pakistan in the Asia Cup tie.

Akmal however, apparently is in a state of mind of where he sees every innings as an opportunity to please the crowds with extravagant stroke-play with illogical shot selection.

There is a huge difference between Kohli and Akmal when it comes to translating the talent into something of substance.

I’ve always loved the way Sachin Tendulkar bats but the only point of concern which I share with the 95% cricket loving population of the world is that he’s not a match-winner, not a finisher.

Kohli, on the other hand, is proving to be a match-winner and knows how to finish the game for his side. What I fear about this young chap though is that his record for the past two tournaments has been that he’s done all the hard work for his side for winning the most crucial games but for reasons unknown, the Indian side gets knocked out of the tournament.

His brilliant knock at Brisbane versus Sri Lanka in the recently concluded CB Series made sure that India chased down a 300+ total but eventually India could not make it to the finals.

A similar situation was observed when Kohli blasted the Pakistani bowling attack with a scorching innings with the bat only to see India on their way back home after they could not reach the final of the Asia Cup 2012.

Honestly, India and Bangladesh deserved to be in the final as both these sides had beaten seasoned opponents and with great class.

Coming back to Virat Kohli, his record as far as winning matches for his side outclasses that of Sachin (at least in terms of people’s perceptions), however in his case, his centuries are becoming a bad omen not for a single match but for the whole tournament.

This is just the beginning; I just hope that we are not looking at another Tendulkar from India.

Hammad A. Mateen