Last night, the Pakistan cricket team set the bar for most unlikely victory when they beat India by 180 runs to win the ICC Champions Trophy.
Coming off the team's terrible performance at Edgbaston, and their apparent incompetence, it was a sight to behold.
Everyone loves a good underdog story, but this one didn't go down too well with Indian cricket fans.
11 Indians stranded in Oval, London. Madam Sushma Swaraj please rescue them. #IndvPak
— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) June 18, 2017
And then, late last night, Eashan Ghosh put up a post on Facebook about Pakistan's journey to their win.
On June 21, 2009, when the Pakistan cricket team last won a big ICC tournament, their captain Younis Khan bypassed the standard anodyne post-match press conference formula to make a statement.
"I am requesting all of the countries, you must come to Pakistan," he said. "Everybody knows law and order is not good but it is not our fault. Especially for youngsters, we need home series because, everywhere, there is no cricket in Pakistan."
His words spurted out hurriedly, urgently, almost desperately.
Ghosh is referring to Younis Khan's impassioned plea to countries around the world, to tour in Pakistan and to separate politics from cricket.
In the same speech, Khan said, "How can we motivate the youngsters, especially at school level and college level? I think this will be helping us build a new structure in Pakistan for our future. How can we promote cricket to our youngsters if there is no international game in Pakistan? How can I motivate my son and my neighbours' small children? That's why we need cricket in Pakistan. Law and order is not good, but this is not our fault. We are suffering at the moment from these kinds of things. I think sports should be away from politics."
"It was hard not to feel for him," Ghosh wrote in his post.
"The issues he raised in that press conference, though, weren’t problems that cricketers could solve. That was 2009. Pakistan have played out their international cricket since then under a near-blanket ban on home games. It has posed plenty of challenges to a team that has had to adjust multiple sets of incoming players to a pretty barren, soulless adopted home environment."
He makes a fair point about the near-insurmountable odds that Pakistani cricketers have to work against.
Ghosh broke it down:
"An exile of this nature [...] robs potential role models of a lot of their immediacy. It cuts out the possibility of transitioning new players into the team in familiar surroundings. It makes the kind of collective belief that drives the best teams in the world harder to develop because thousands of rabid fans don’t turn up to every home game and cheer every play you make. It can hurt the relevance attached to a lot of the cricket played your country’s team. It broadens, in several little ways, the gulf in the level the game is played at outside the country by the best teams in the world and the level it is played at within the country."
He compared this to the situation in India, where cricket is the country's most loved and most well-funded sport.
"In India, cricket extending its legs as the number one sport in the country over the past few years is a testament to cash and innovation and a TV-friendly sporting product making inroads into the attention of successive generations. In Pakistan, cricket still being the number one sport today is as much a statement of survival and defiance as anything else."
Ghosh ended his post on a positive note, saying, "As an Indian, I can’t say that I’m happy they won today. But as a cricket fan who recognizes the scale of what they’re attempting to do and how far they have left to go, I can’t help but wish them well."
Read the full post here: