Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Secret Cricket Deals

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Mohammad Yusuf is a nice, fortyish man who drives a taxi. I’ve known him for twenty years, he is accessible by cell phone and he always drives me to the airport. He is generally punctual except when he has fare just before he is supposed to pick me up. Then if I phone to ask where he is, he’ll say he’s only five minutes away. In reality he’ll be, say, thirty minutes off.

But that was just to introduce the good man. When he drives he sometimes begins a little conversation and because he loves cricket (that non-game they play with oars and six sticks in which you can gamble and win if you lose), he is chattier when the game is on. Which, incidentally, is always; the whole year round. As my sister asked me on the phone from Canada, ‘Is this silly cricket thing on again?’ She believed that as it used to be in the old days, they played only when the weather was good. And I had to tell her it is now never off. There’s too much money to be made by venal fixers (read players).

Last week, as he drove me home from the airport, Yusuf had a gem to share. There was some match or the other between India and Pakistan being played somewhere. He was convinced that our dear Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sahib had made a deal with Mr N Modi to lose the match. Yusuf believed NS repeatedly made these deals asking the devious Indians for something in return. The Indians being Indians and very cunning and two-faced (as our Social Studies books from Grades 3 to 12 tell us), assure our simple NS that the needful will be done. Only Pakistan must lose the match.

But again, they being Indians, they double cross us once we have contrived to let them win. They back-track. Mr Modi – and before him M/s Singh and Vajpayee too – thumb their noses at our poor PM. It’s altogether another thing that uneducated street boys that now make up our kirkit team routinely make a good packet by losing matches. How else can a yahoo urchin get to live in Defence Society?

Yusuf tells me this monkey business has been going on for a very long time. I now recall that a couple of years ago too he told me the same thing. But I forget what it was that NS had wanted the Indians to do for us which they, in the end, didn’t.

That’s pretty sound logic. I think Najam Sethi ought to tell the gutter (read Pakistani TV channels) media of this carrying on. My friend Ali Imran tells me some joker called Asad Kharal who masquerades as ‘investigative journalist’ is the man in whose ear Sethi should send his little birdie to whisper this secret. And the rest, as they say, will be history.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:00,


At 4 March 2016 at 14:41, Anonymous Nadeem Akram said...

Well said sir

At 4 March 2016 at 15:27, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Nothing to it, Nadeem. My taxi driver is a fine source of these super secret deals between India and Pakistan.

At 15 March 2016 at 10:05, Blogger Hiba Moeen said...

Conspiracy stories always stir up if the team is not performing. I feel bad for the remaining few who still watch cricket in Pakistan. :)

At 15 March 2016 at 10:14, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Ah, so you cannot feel bad for me, Hiba. I have NEVER EVER watched kirkit or have had any interest in this non-game.


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days