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How Pakistan paid a heavy price for its victory celebrations

by Gaurav Sethi

Pakistan might have won the first Test match against England at Lord’s, but it now turns out that they have much to rue. At best of times, the Pakistan cricket team is not known for its fitness. However, their 42 year skipper raised the bar for a team that gets by more because of its talent than its fitness. After Misbah-ul-Haq scored his maiden Test century on English soil, he took to a rather unconventional celebration, a salute, followed by ten push-ups.

But it didn’t end there. The Pakistani team took to ape their skipper after their victory at Lord’s. Veteran batsman, Younis Khan, rounded up a disorderly bunch, commanding them to do the push-up routine. Even though the players only managed to do five-six push ups, followed by the salute, it has taken a heavy toll on them.

Misbah has been critical of the routine. He has pointed out that they did it in the wrong order. “They should have saluted first and then done the push ups. Not even the Pakistan military can discipline this bunch. I still don’t know how we won the match. But it’s a good feeling”. Not known to be very expressive, Misbah smiled blankly into the mid distance.

When asked if the players were carrying any injuries after the celebration, he neither confirmed nor contradicted with a simple, “You can see for yourself”

What we did see for ourselves was a whole bunch of players in physiotherapy. While man-of-the-match, Yasir Shah, spoke with his interpreter and coach, Mushtaq Ahmed, the others were happy to speak in a sprinkling of Urdu and English. Shah refused to blame the push ups and said he was just very tired after bowling 60 overs and batting for over 100 minutes.

Comeback kid Mohammad Amir was surprisingly more honest when he said that he had made a return to bowling not to push ups. “But Younish Bhai said and I will do. And I knew here I was not crossing the line. Salute was cute touch. How do you like my brown hair? No, it’s not mehendi, it’s expensive dye...You’re liking? Mike Atherton said he’s liking, he’s very supportive of me even when he doesn’t speak urdu and I’m not speaking English”  

It is also learnt that Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have a new celebration for their troops if they win the second Test at Old Trafford. With an equal emphasis on discipline and creativity, the Pakistani team hopes to bring good their time spent at the Pakistani army preparatory camp. A victory lap has been planned, just that the players will march in single file and salute the crowd throughout. “We want to be consistent and keep army theme going...and no we are not looking to overthrow elected government in Pakistan” said Younis, tongue firmly in cheek, cracked up at his own joke. “Please don’t quote me, they will drop me from team again, they love dropping me from team just like I like making controversial, stupid statements”.

Unnamed sources claim that the Pakistani team is also keen to teach India a lesson. During the army preparatory camp, the players also underwent special training on how to infiltrate into India through Kashmir. A PCB spokesperson on conditions of anonymity issued the following statement, “We are desperate to play India just as they are desperate to not play Pakistan. We are left with no option but to infiltrate into India – once we are there, they will have no option but to play us. There’s too much money to be made. And everyone can blame everyone and no action will be taken. And as Mr Ravi Shastri says, cricket will be ultimate winner.”

(However plausible this may sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)

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