How cricket shapes the social, cultural landscape of Pakistan

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How cricket shapes the social, cultural landscape of Pakistan

Pakistan is a country beset with political instabilities, economic problems, and ethnic conflict. It is also a country where the game of cricket, just like in India, has become a national obsession. All this and more is revealed in the book titled Cricket Cauldron which was released by the High Commissioner of Pakistan Salman Bashir recently at the India Habitat Centre.

The authors Shaharyar M Khan and Ali Khan, present on the occasion offered an unusual perspective to understand the state of cricket in Pakistan and how the game boosts morale of Pakistan even as the country battles with its political instabilities, economic woes, religious and ethnic strife and crises of identity.

It examines controversies such as the 2006 Oval Test against England, where the Pakistani team was accused of ball tampering; the allegations of spot-fixing against three Pakistani cricketers ñ Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir; the mysterious death of the Pakistani coach and his good friend Bob Woolmer; instances of overt religiosity in the Pakistani team under the captaincy of Inzamam-ul-Haq; and indiscipline and factionalism among players.
 “I was a part of the Board from 2003-2006. I heard that Inzy (Inzamam-ul-Haq) was always urging his boys to read namaz five times a day, because from his point of view only then could we do our best. He didn’t consider practising more important than religious things,” Shaharyar M Khan said.

Addressing BCCI vice president, IPL chairman and Member of Parliament Rajiv Shukla during a debate on organising an Indo-Pak bilateral series, Khan said “If for security reasons, the Indian team can’t come, we are ready to come to India whenever you call us. I also mean that playing at a third venue is not a good option.” To this, the IPL chairman said that the BCCI was in the process of “organising a series of India and Pakistan, but were not clear about the South Africa tour. But it couldn’t happen. If you give us the surety of security then we don’t have any issue to come to Pakistan.” 
A revelation of sorts, the book reveals how the game shapes the political, social and cultural landscape of Pakistan, its fractured relations with India and also the seamier side of the game that covers up many unsavoury activities. 

Bollywood actor and wife of the legendry cricketer, Late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Sharmila Tagore was also present on the occasion, amongst many luminaries from the cricketing world and the City’s glitterati.

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