Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An Open Letter to Imran Farhat

(a version of this article was published yesterday in Dawn and can be found here)

Dear Imran Farhat,

So, you’re back. I’d tell you it’s good to see you again, but it’s not. You must be over the moon, what with being picked for all three formats. Why, you must think you’re a regular Kevin Pietersen, eh?

Well you’re not, Imran. I haven’t forgotten who you are. You may be a year or so older. You may be a day or so wiser. But underneath all that flash, beneath all that ICL bravado, you’re still the same guy who’s going to perpetuate our opening problem. You’re still the same batsman who miscues an ambitious pull shot. You’re the same player who will attempt a cross-batted hoick across the line of the ball for no reason other than your own ego. And you’re the same guy who helps perfect the opposing side’s slip-catching skills.

I’ll give you one thing Imran: you must be one helluva husband.

Your wife probably has only good things to say about you to her parents, because not many father-in-laws would accost the coach of the international cricket team, berating him for not selecting his precious son-in-law out of, ironically, bias. Even fewer father-in-laws would threaten the national selectors for not picking the apple of his daughter’s eye for the Pakistan team. But I suppose that’s the kind of class act your dad-in-law, Mohammad Ilyas, is, eh? And how does the PCB choose to handle an individual who allegedly threatened to “start a war” against their selection panel? Make him part of the selection panel, of course. I suppose their skewed logic is that those primed to do the most damage to the system should be placed in a position of power within that system so they have a stake in its survival. One can’t really blame the PCB for such logic since the apex of the Federal Government’s been applying that strategy as well. Wonder how that’s working out?

And what was Mr. Ilyas’s first order of business? Restore you, Imran, to your “rightful” position, of course. Most might say that something fishy’s afoot. But not me. I think its one big, freakish coincidence. It’s not like your numbers don’t justify your inclusion. A healthy average of barely above 30 in both major forms of the game make you a shoe-in for any Wisden World XI team. And your discipline? Exemplary. Some called you a crybaby for phoning up a selector in the middle of the night and demanding to know why you’d been dropped. But I figured you just wanted to say “hi”. Apparently it got so heated that you were fined for dissent. It doesn’t stop there. When you jumped ship for the ICL you took a few more shots at the PCB for assassinating your career, as if your lazy wafts outside the off-stump weren’t the true culprits.

So kudos, Imran – you can’t bat competently, but I’m sure you are one exceptional family man. I can just see the case Mohammad Ilyas made on your behalf in front of the selection committee. Sure my son-in-law has no patience outside the off-stump. But he always asks my daughter how her day went when they’re on the dinner table. Granted he will give his wicket away carelessly, thereby enhancing the pressure on our other batsmen. But apparently he volunteers to do the dishes on Tuesdays and Saturdays. And his lack of foot movement is completely offset by the fact that he lets his wife handle the remote when they’re watching television.

The fact is Imran, you’re back and there’s no use crying about it. Just show up, make your random 30 odds and scratchy half centuries, and then leave us be. Pakistan cricket is at a very important stage right now. We’ve been deprived of home games and yet we’ve managed to win a World Cup and make it to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. We’ve got a couple of young players in Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer who have it in them to ensure a very bright future for our team. And what’s more, we as a nation want revenge this time around. Beating New Zealand was supposed to be a sure thing, like it’s always been, which is what made it all the more traumatizing to lose to them in the Champions Trophy. We don’t want to beat them. We want to maul them. I’m sure you figure yourself to be the man to do the mauling. Sadly, you’re not. You’re not even the original, unreliable Imran. Now that kid could maul. Pity about the temperament, though.

So enjoy yourself, Imran. Don’t get too comfortable and please, don’t do any lasting damage while you’re out there. When you’re in the nets, don’t drive a ball straight at Saeed Ajmal and cause him bodily harm. He’s the best thing to happen to Pakistan off-spin bowling since Saqlain Mushtaq and we’ll need him in the tests against New Zealand. Furthermore, if you’re ever in the locker room and arguing with Shahid bhai about whether youngsters like Umar Akmal respect you, don’t grab a bat and start swinging at Umar. Akmal’s a national treasure. Furthermore, you might meet two guys while you’re training with the team: Ahmed Shehzad (though he’s not selected) and Fawad Alam. Both of them have the potential to be extremely successful and productive batsmen for Pakistan. So steer clear of them and don’t offer them any pearls of wisdom such as: “always charge down the track when the ball is full and swinging”. Just point them both towards the direction of Younis Khan and you’ll have done your bit for Pakistan cricket.

You know Imran, you may very well have a good series, maybe even comparable to that glory tour against the same team a few years back. You’re even capable of a test century or two. But you’re not a long term solution. You’re just another in the line of ICL alums whom the selection committee insists on trotting out even though they forget that they were dropped for poor performance in the first place.

Enjoy your run, Imran. My regards to Ilyas sahb.



  1. somethingrichandstrangeNovember 4, 2009 at 2:39 AM

    haha so interesting how the two versions differ, particularly the last paragraph. were you persuaded to be more diplomatic, or did you decide to exercise more discretion independent of any external pressure?

  2. hahahahahahhaahahaaha, i fucking love it.. man farooq tu bara farigh hay yar.. hahahhhaahhahhaahha

  3. Farooq has never exercised discretion. Ever. I would go with the external pressure angle.

  4. somethingrichandstrange:

    The former. They felt the sarcasm and edge needed to be toned down a bit and it was fair enough for someone like Dawn to expect that. As long as it got my general message across, I was happy.
    However, you're right in noticing the last paragraph of the Dawn version was a bit of a disconnect since the tone seems to starkly shift to one of optimism which is a tone I'd never associate with Farhat.


    Thanks. Haan yaar, aur kya? Tu kabhi lift nahi detha.


    What gives, partner? I am nothing if not discrete (literary reference to appeal to your highbrow nature)! You of all people know I have a knack for discretion.
    Say, have you ever watched that comedy, Sister Act 2? Or heard that band Twisted Sister? Do you agree that Brain DePalma's best movie was "Sisters"?

  5. Farooq Bhai. Like ur blog alot. Please visit and contribute @ www.maza786.blogspot.com.

  6. Loved your piece. And agree with every bit of it.

  7. somethingrichandstrangeNovember 18, 2009 at 9:13 PM


    you could've written this, no?

  8. hahaha....that is damn funny :D

  9. han bhai usman theek farmaya aap ne
    yeh mr imran farhat to team mein sirf apne susaru ilyas ki waja se hae
    aur ilyas apne mr clown butt saheb ki waja se aur mr butt the clown mr 10 percent zaradri ki waja se aur mr ten percent hamare deeds ki waja se ham per mussalat hae
    Allah he Hafiz hae pakistan ka aur cricket team ka
    meri lifetime mein mujhe nhe lagta k ham kbhe australia ko test hara sakein ge
    shukria for good article

    You write damn well...awesome =))

  11. a little old but aala. i hope with hafeez's recent improvement, he is permanently out