On April the 23rd, 1998, Pakistan played South Africa in a One Day International cricket match in Cape Town, as part of the Standard Bank International One-Day Series (Sri Lanka also participated in the series).
South Africa won by a decisive nine wickets with 134 balls remaining.
Pakistan lost the toss and batted first. Only four batsman got out of the single digits, and the highest score was a measly 30 from opener Saeed Anwar.
They went from 84-3 to all out for 114.
It was Lance Klusener’s day, taking five Pakistani wickets for only 25 runs in seven overs.
In the chase, Gary Kirsten hit a not-out 52 to lead his team to victory, needing only 27 overs and change to do so.
It also happened to be the final of the tri-series.
Pakistan did not play an international cricket match for five months. It was not until the September the 12th, when they played an ODI against India in Toronto, Canada.
India won by six wickets.
In a similar match, Pakistan collapsed at the crease after India won the toss and chose to field.
Pakistan finished at 189 not out, a total that India chased down with six wickets and 38 balls to spare.
Sourav Ganguly hit a half century to lead his countrymen.
Between those two matches, Pakistan went Nuclear.
On May the 28th, deep in the Chagi Hills, they detonated five nuclear devices, becoming the seventh nation to officially have nuclear weapons.
According to the articles I have read, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is a source of great national pride for the nation’s citizens. The leader of the nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, for example, is respectively known as Moshin-e-Pakistan – literally: the Savior of Pakistan.
And as I mentioned in a previous post, their national cricket stadium in Lahore is named after Muammar Gaddafi, all because he gave a speech in 1974 that supported Pakistan’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program.
Now, I am not here to editorialize. I do not claim to understand the region, or what is like to be a citizen of Pakistan.
My point actually is that there are two major sources of national pride in Pakistan: their cricket team, and their nuclear program.
The former is a pastoral bat and ball sport, the latter is the most dangerous creation ever envisioned by man.
And considering the dichotomy of the two sources of pride, maybe one explains the other, and vice versa.
Or maybe not.
But I find it fascinating.
And I think I might explore the link between the two in more detail going forward.
I would love to hear folks’ comments on the correlation.
Pakistan are back on the pitch tomorrow morning, looking for pride in the ODI series against England. I hope to tune in for large portions of the match.
Until next time.