Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies

Corridor of uncertainty
Posted:Aug 8, 2014
increase Font size decrease Font size
Insightful and explosive, claims the jacket of Wounded Tiger . It indeed is. For Peter Oborne, the noted political commentator at Daily Telegraph , the subject became a fascination following his many trips to Pakistan. It is a study on the history of a nation that has not been given its due for being an intriguing, but formidable cricket force in the world.
Wounded Tiger , published by Simon and Schuster, is a definite account of Pakistan’s love with the game that grew to earn appreciation for the team’s sheer unpredictability on the cricket field. Pakistan could win from lost position. And lose at the door of victory.
Oborne brings out some sensational aspects of the game and delves into issues never written about in amazing detail. The chapters dedicated to A. H. Kardar, Fazal Mahmood, umpire Idris Baig, the 1960s and various controversies that pulled Pakistan cricket back is compelling stuff. The writer makes a startling revelation that Fazal was saved from being lynched by “Hindu fanatics” in the train by Indian cricket legend, C.K. Nayudu.
Oborne’s book is a must for every cricket lover. He discusses the book in this interview. The excerpts:
What attracted you to write on Pakistan cricket?
I used to know India much better than Pakistan and my parents used to live in India. However, I was sent on several reporting assignments to Pakistan and couldn’t help noticing that wherever I went I saw children playing cricket on the streets. Just everywhere, on every tiny bit of flat land with cars weaving in and around them. I found this very interesting and I decided in the end that I wanted to tell the history of cricket in Pakistan.
What was your experience of collecting information because there is not much documented work on cricket in Pakistan?
You’re quite right to note the almost complete absence of documented information. The great Indian cricket historian Ramachandra Guha notes the same thing is true of India and that documents just don’t seem to survive. To give one example about Pakistan, there were literally no documents of any kind at the Pakistan cricket board. None, whatsoever.
This meant I was very dependent on face-to-face interviews with survivors of the early cricket teams and also newspapers. For the days of early Partition I got quite a lot out of the Bombay and Calcutta newspapers. The MCC archives are also an essential source. These have been greatly improved lately by the new chief librarian Neil Robinson so I was able to rely, for MCC tours abroad, on the excellent files that now exist at Lords.
What was the most fascinating aspect of your interactions with people connected with cricket in Pakistan?
I had enormous fun just interviewing old Pakistan cricketers and not just the first-class cricketers, the club cricketers. Basically, Pakistan cricket flourished from the club cricket in Lahore and Karachi from the 1920s onwards. I really enjoyed talking to the old timers.
I also found it very exhilarating going to places like Peshawar and up the Swat Valley and talking to young cricketers who were playing in what sometimes became very much like a war zone. I found their enthusiasm and love of the game incredibly exciting and wonderful.
What impressions have you formed of the state of the game in Pakistan?
There are two ways of looking at Pakistan cricket. One is seeing the negative side of things i.e the fact the international team is forced to play all of its cricket outside the country.
That really is a problem as it must be a terribly lonely life for Pakistan’s international players, having to live in hotels and airplanes.
It also means the lovely tradition of Pakistan cricket — where young players suddenly burst into the international team from nowhere e.g Wasim Akram and Tauseef Ahmed are great examples of this — are dying out. It is a national game for Pakistan, like football is for Brazil.
Do you believe history has not done justice to Pakistan cricket?
One of the main reasons for writing this book is the fact that there is very little good writing about Pakistan cricket. Furthermore, quite a lot of the writing about Pakistan cricket is jaundiced, written by people who do not like Pakistan.
There is a very negative English cricket writing which is clearly biased against Pakistan cricket and sometimes racist. Some Indian writing about Pakistan is jaundice. Understandably so, due to the relationship between the countries since partition.
Would you be tempted to travel to Pakistan to watch international cricket whenever the game returns to this sub-continent giant?
I long for cricket to return to Pakistan and I will make it my business to accompany the first international team that goes back there.
Book : Wounded Tiger
Author:Peter Oborne
Publisher:Simon and Schuster
increase Font size decrease Font size
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra Shah has regretted that the country has lost its Hindu identity and said despair and unhappiness among the people might lead them to revolt once again. 


The first India-Palestine Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) signifies New Delhi’s commitment towards economic development and well being of Palestine writes Muddassir Quamar for South Asia Monitor

Intensifying searches is good. But with all this only about 15% of the tax-defaulters have been caught. Therefore the government must address the major sources of black money, writes Sudip Bhattacharyya for South Asia Monitor. 

Some years ago Joel Stein wrote a witty and perfectly appropriate column in Time magazine titled ‘My Own Private India’, about a town called Edison in New Jersey. Stein was thoroughly excoriated as racist and anti-Indian by people purporting to represent the Indian community in the United States.  &...

In the afternoon of October 13, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, Rama IX of the Chakri dynasty, passed away at the age of 88, in the 70th year of his reign. I ran to a café in Sukhumvit to watch the announcement, as streets in Bangkok grew quiet, people huddled around television screens, many sobbing in disbelief....


Address by M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs on Regional Integration and Prosperity at Brussels Conference on Afghanistan (October 5, 2016). Read more inside...

The cold, hard reality of the war in Syria is that the violence, bloodshed, and chaos continues unabated while the Left, such as it is, continues on in a state of schizophrenic madness. Different points of view, conflicting ideological tendencies, and a misunderstanding of the reality of the conflict are all relevant issues to be in...

On a sunny morning a young shepherd takes his cattle across the lovely winding Namka Chu into the dense pine forests on the ridge above. The cold wind blows in from the north and the boy looks up at the steep mountain ahead of him covered by rhododendrons.


The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and others of their ilk not only destabilise Pakistan and make it one of the world's most dangerous places but also threaten neighbouring Afghanistan and India -- and even far...


The book, written in the manner of a series of case studies, also points to the lack of a clearly enunciated national security strategy, a defence situational review, a defence strategy and a joint strategy for the armed forces -- all of this h...


The book ‘Pakistan at crossroads: Domestic Dynamics and External Pressures’  is one of the few books in recent years which fixes spotlight on various aspects of Pakistan; the internal flummoxing situation and external forces wh...


In a region which is unexplored as an asset class, performance will be the kingmaker. This book includes the author’s CDCF Portfolio basket for the SAARC asset class, which selects the best fundamental-p...


Sri Lanka has to be the most beautiful country I have ever seen, says John Gimlette, an accomplished travel writer who journeys to the island nation at the end of a long and brutal civil war. Anyone who has se...

Subscribe to our newsletter