March 03, 2009

A game to die for?

Everyone who reads this blog knows that Londonstani is a big cricket fan. Long-time readers will be aware that he is hoping for life time membership of the MCC for his efforts to export the great social equaliser to fresh territories (Darfur). Those who read this blog too often (seriously, you know who you are) will be aware that Londonstani has still not lived down a certain East Tenessean's clean bowled dismissal of his cousin, who claims to play for Middlesex's under-18 team.

Anyway, after reading all the BBC, NYT, Guardian, Reuters, AP etc coverage of the Lahore attacks on the Sri Lankan team, Londonstani thought to turn to a much trusted source of information on all things cricket - And he wasn't disappointed. Writer Kamran Abbasi sums up the sheer; "are you serious?!" factor in all this.

"This the darkest day in the history of Pakistan cricket and it occurred in a pleasant suburb of Lahore, a once great city of gardens and tranquility, not far from my own family home in Pakistan."

The context you need to know about this attack lies between Abbasi's lines. This is Lahore we are talking about. Not Peshawar, or volatile Karachi, or even the capital. This is Lahore, Pakistan's "safe" cultural city, where to most residents the trouble on the border might as well be happening across it in Afghanistan.

NOTE: Abbasi bowled out Nawaz Sherif, which makes him cool. He also smacked Michael Atherton about the place, which makes him good enough to play for England.

UPDATE: For those interested in finding out more about the political context of these attacks, Londonstani recommends reading Nicholas Schmidle's great New Republic profile of the man who's supposed to save Pakistan (and potential collateral victims).