Destroyers

کالم نگار  |  Mowahid Hussain Shah
Destroyers

An old friend from an old Lahore family, exasperated over the antics of his family's youth, commented: "This is the generation of Destroyers."  His thesis is that the first generation of elders were Builders who sacrificed their today by investing in tomorrow.  The second generation (his) ended up depleting their family's resources; he called them Spenders.  The current generation of his family, whom he believes over-sleep, over-eat, and over-frolic, he calls the generation of Destroyers.
The Destroyer label fits into the current state of Pakistan cricket, as vividly depicted in Peter Oborne's magnum opus, "Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan." 
In May in Lahore, I had the privilege of lunching with Peter in the company of Iftikhar Bokhari - a cricketer of repute who had the highest batting average in the Minor Counties in England in 1956, and was acclaimed by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack - and Zulfiqar Bokhari, former head of the PCB, who hosted the World Cup Final at Lahore in March 1996. 
Peter Oborne, a courageous UK journalist who is chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph, incurred the ire of Tony Blair for slamming his pro-Bush foreign policy.  He has been a formidable critic of Anglo-American molly coddling of Israel and has denounced the international community's dual standards in singling out Iran's nuclear program. 
The author brings to life the pioneering role of Kardar, Fazal, Imtiaz, and Hanif for putting Pakistan cricket on the world map.  He calls Kardar and Fazal "Nation Builders."  He dug deeply into their private lifestyles and found them both men of impeccable integrity.  He cares enough to visit Kardar's grave at Miani Sahib as well as the humble abode of Fazal in Garhi Shahu, Lahore, and found that Fazal used to go to a nearby mosque around 4 a.m. to give the Fajr azan. Another selfless benefactor of Pakistan cricket was Justice A. R. Cornelius, who combatted Herculean odds. 
The contributory factors behind Pakistan cricket's decline are the lure of lucre and political meddling, which has made PCB management as accommodating posts to park favorites.  In this connection, the writer is unafraid to pull punches by naming names. The paramount mission must be to again make Pakistan number 1.
The book rightly views match-fixing and match-fixers as treacherous betrayal of the national trust.  It cites Kardar's foreboding that greed would grind down the mighty legacy of Pakistan cricket.  Here, one may add, lies the reason why players have consistently crumbled under pressure.  A brittle character motivated by quick money doesn't have the fortitude to endure fire under pressure.  The team is prone to panic, as it has demonstrated on numerous big occasions. 
Peter is a searcher and his search reveals his deep love for Pakistan and overriding respect for its Muslim heritage.  He recognizes that cricket embodies the dreams and is an expression of the national personality of the people of Pakistan.  But, with merit thwarted and integrity downsized, the dream can become a long national nightmare.
The author has performed a heroic service in the annals of sports and sociology.  The Imanet of the Builders must be defended from Destroyers.