Pakistan is a country beset with politicised instabilities, economic problems, ethnic conflicts, religious fervour and crises of identity. It is also a country in which the game of cricket has become a nationwide obsession. How has that happened? How does a Muslim country, jealous of its independence and determined to forge a Pakistani identity, so passionately embrace the alien gentleman's game imported by the distant and departed former colonial masters? What do we learn of Pakistan from its attitudes and responses to cricket? This book sees Pakistan - its history, politics and society - through the prism of cricket. Shaharyar Khan and Ali Khan describe how cricket defines national identity and boosts morale even while Pakistan struggles to contain internal political conflict and the influence of the Taliban near and within its borders; they show how the game shapes the political, social and cultural landscape of Pakistan and its fractured relations with India. But with recent betting scandals and accusations of spot-fixing throwing Pakistani cricket into the global media spotlight, what does cricket tell us about condition of Pakistani society today?
The former Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, a man with an unparalleled insight into the establishment, Shaharyar Khan examines how this very Western sport came to embed itself in the psyche of Pakistanis old and young, transcending social and class boundaries. The authors illuminate Pakistan for readers by offering an unusual and highly original perspective - that in understanding the state of cricket in Pakistan, can we gain a deeper understanding of the state of Pakistan itself. Demonstrating how the turbulence around cricket has much wider political implications, this book will fascinate general readers and cricket enthusiasts, at the same time proving essential reading for observers of Pakistan, India and the South Asia region.
Shaharyar M Khan is a distinguished international diplomat who served as High Commissioner in Great Britain, as Ambassador to France and Jordan, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary and UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Rwanda. His cricket pedigree is impeccable. He distinguished himself for Cambridge University Crusaders while reading law at Corpus Christi College, played first grade cricket in Britain and Pakistan and was a playing member of the MCC. His family link him to the all-time 'greats' of cricket on the sub-continent including the Nawab of Pataudi who played for England and captained India and Mansur Alu Khan, a distinguished 'Blue' and Pakistani captain. He was Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, 2003-2006. Ali Khan is Associate Professor at LUMS, a professional social anthropologist and cricket-playing student of the game. Shaharyar Khan's previous publications include The Begums of Bhopal: A Dynasty of Women Rulers in the Raj, The Shallow Graves of Rwanda (both I.B.Tauris) and Memoirs of a Rebel Princess.
List of Illustrations Foreword by Imran Khan Preface Introduction 1. Cricket's role in the birth of Pakistan 2. The call 3. India's path-breaking tour of Pakistan -- March/April 2004 4. Woolmer enters the fray 5. Urgent issues facing the Pakistan Cricket Board 6. Climbing up the international ladder under Woolmer 7. International and bilateral cricket diplomacy 8. The controversial face of Pakistan cricket 9. The reasons for Pakistan's controversial image 10. 2006 - The fateful year 11. The Oval Test and its aftermath 12. Conclusions Notes Index