Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui, one of the most learned personalities to have taken to the field of cricket administration, firmly believes that Pakistan’s recent triumph in the ICC World Twenty20 in England will go a long way in the further development of the sport in the country.
“The nation desperately needed this kind of boost to revive our fortunes. The general feeling was that of disappointment and despair whenever breaking news appeared on the television channels. We were very reluctant to open the pages of the newspapers in the morning for the fear of coming across yet another heart-breaking headline. This has all changed in a matter of a few days and the mood of the nation looks positive now thanks to the accomplishment of our cricketers,” Prof Ejaz Farooqui, Chairman, Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), Zone II, remarked in an exclusive interview.
He agreed that the youth in particular would be the major beneficiary of the conquest of the national team against the heaviest of odds.
“Now the feeling among the youngsters all over the country is that they are the world champions. I think that the spirit will remain the same until the next couple of years at least when the next World Cup or the ICC Twenty20 would be staged in 2011,” Prof Ejaz Farooqui reckoned.
“Already things are getting in motion at every level with more and more cricket tournaments being planned. Another notable change is the increase in the attendance in the local events. Now the organizers appear more passionate than ever before to set the ball rolling,” he said.
“The body language of even the club cricketers has changed. They are also enjoying the moment. They are demonstrating greater self belief. That’s why I say that this World Cup win is well and truly motivational for our youngsters in particular,” Prof Ejaz Farooqui emphasized.
He complimented the various institutions to have recognized the national team warmly upon their return home.
“The heroes deserve to be acknowledged and admired. Our cricketers have made the entire nation proud with their sensational performance. We are a lively nation and we know how to treasure the moment,” he remarked.
“The mood was terrific throughout the tournament and we were confident that something extraordinary was round the corner because our team had peaked at the right time after having endured the early hassles. We anticipated the boys to come good in the final at Lord’s although Sri Lanka looked the stronger outfit and they had also beaten Pakistan in an earlier game,” he recalled.
“Like quite a few other places in the country, we had set up a giant screen at the Arts Council of Pakistan where the final was being televised live and the atmosphere was electric. We thought ourselves of being at Lord’s cheering for our national team. It was a memorable evening,” Prof Ejaz Farooqui, who is also the Honorary Treasurer of the Arts Council, added.
“We celebrated the victory rather emotionally and we carried a procession from Arts Council to Karachi Press Club where we disembarked after sharing our joys with the media professionals the very next day. These were the moments to cherish,” he concluded.