Late last night, after watching an exhilarating T20 world cup final and a crazy facebook status update war, my friend Andrew in London – he is a Canadian by the way – started sending me live updates via text messages about how Pakistani fans have taken over St Johns Wood Road by the Lord’s, the amount of money Pakistani expatriates have with people draping hummers in Pakistani flags and white BMWs with a green Pakistan Zindabad slogan pasted on it. I told him it is all those curry houses owned by Pakistanis across Britain that are responsible for the riches of the desi Diaspora.
This is the email I later got from him, it would give you an idea how London goes nuts on Sundays, especially when Pakistanis win a major cricket tournament.
A crazy day here in London. I went to the demo at the Iranian Embassy for an hour or so in the late afternoon. Spoke to an Iranian guy for about 20 minutes about what has been going on. Lots of noise and emotion!!
Walked across Hyde Park and headed up towards Lords. Traffic was backed up so I guessed that the final of the 20-20 Cricket World Cup between Pakistan and Srti Lanka had ended. Lots of crazy happy Pakistan fans were running around making noise. A few were drunk as well. Then a group of Sri Lankan Tamils came by in an anti-Sri Lanka protest. “Sri Lanka, terrorist!” You get the idea.
I walked around Lords after a bit and came upon the Western gate where the team buses were to come out. A crowd of a few hundred Pak fans had gathered. They had the largest flag of Pakistan I had ever seen. It must have been 30 feet long and 15 to 20 feet wide. Lots of Anglo-Pakistanis too so the chants were football like: “Are you watching India?!” “Green Army!” “Afridi (the team’s star player)!”
Someone had a sign that read: “I got my ticket from an Indian.”
After being in Sri Lanka when they won the World Cup in 1996 and following things since then, it is clear that Mike Marquese was right to call his book about the World Cup “War Minus the Shooting”.
PS: President Zardari has announced cash award for the team Pakistan and for the first time, I am ok with him spending our tax money like his personal treasure chest. Go Green Army, you made us proud. To quote a blogging buddy, you guys have gone from cricket chumps to T20 Champs.
PPS: Now that Younus Khan has announced his retirement from the shortest form of cricket, would we see Afridi as the new T20 captain?
PPPPS: Has anyone noticed, this is Intekhab Alam’s second world cup as a coach (the first was in 1992), is he our lucky mascot?
The last photo was added because I just wanted Afridi to be part of this post
Disclaimer: The post does not mean to hurt any Indian reader, I just reproduced Andrew’s email.