Saturday, 9 June 2012

A Visit to Pakistan

FB is on a short assignment in India.  While he is away he has left a few posts in the bowling machine summarising some of the things India means to him. 

Picture perfect
Fantasy Bob has never been to India before this trip.  However he visited Pakistan twice in the early 1990s on consultancy assignments. It is the only Test playing nation that he has visited, other than England.  And fascinating it was too.  He spent time in Islamabad and Lahore - it was highly fascinating with cricket played on every street corner and waste ground.  The early matches of the 1992 World Cup were being staged in Australia while he was on his first trip - interest was keen everywhere - for good reason, Pakistan went on to win beating England in the final.

When he was in Lahore he wandered out of his hotel on a leisurely stroll between meetings.  Close by, he chanced upon the green of an elegant cricket ground with a match in progress.  It looked a high quality match.  The pavilion was elegant the outfield smooth and green.  The outfield was lined with mature trees.  A picture perfect cricket ground. Regretably he could stay only to watch a few balls.

Subsequent research has suggested to FB that the ground was within the Bagh-e-Jinnah which is the Kew Gardens of Lahore, the most pukka of public parks. There is apparently a magnificent colonial-era library but the centrepiece is said to be the Lahore Gymkhana Cricket Club, which is where FB arrived by accident all those years ago. Picture perfect it may be but the ground has staged some important matches in its history. Pakistan's first unofficial Test Match was played there in 1948 against In fact in the 1950s 3 Test matches were played against India, New Zealand and West Indies. Modern tests in Lahore have been played at the Gaddafi Stadium - and FB hopes the stadium will see international action again in the not too distant future.

England last played there in November 2000. The match ended in a draw with the PCB XI holding on valiantly at 71 for 6 at the close. In the subsequent series, England clinched victory in the final test in Karachi after 2 draws. A tense finish took place in the gathering gloom and many in the crowd, or the outfield did not actually see Graham Thorpe edge the winning runs.

Glories yet to come as FB strolled the perfect cricket ground.

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