Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as Pakistan's 12th man? There could be worse candidates

Perhaps we should have seen the signs.

A man who has openly said there is only hatred towards India, one who has repeatedly insisted New Delhi should have no rights over Kashmir, isn't perhaps the most patriotic of people in this large and overpopulated land of ours. Surely, if a talent hunt to identify who loves Mother India the most was to be held, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wouldn't feature too high on most people's list of favourites.

File image of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

File image of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

But despite this abundantly overwhelming evidence, we chose to expect Mirwaiz to drape himself in the Tricolour and sing "Sachiiin, Sachiiin", regardless of whether Tendulkar was in the grounds or not — or whether India was even playing the match or not... indeed, whether it was even a game of cricket, or simply a bunch of goatherds going about their business.

But it was Pakistan that had won over the Mirwaiz's heart. With their brand of inconsistent cricket and backroom politics, Sarfraz Ahmed and his band of merry men won over Mirwaiz's cold heart.

It prompted furious reactions from the nationalists, who termed Mirwaiz Pakistan's 12th man, much to the dismay of Pakistan's actual 12th man, who was waiting eagerly for his chance to get into the side some day.

"I too was cheering for Pakistan to win. Where did I go wrong? Pichhle janam mein maine kya paap kya tha?" he was heard sobbing.

But it got a few of us here at FP Special Forces thinking. If Mirwaiz can swing past ICC regulations and become Pakistan's 12th man despite not being part of the original squad, and all by the mere act of cheering a Pakistan victory, may be that really is the selection criteria. It is, after all, the Pakistan cricket team, and far stranger things have happened there.

And why would it even be such a bad thing? He can't really be worse than Mohammad Hafeez, for one. And we have heard a thing or two about his ability to evade capture, so he could even be worth his weight on the field.

So without any further ado, here's a list of things we believe Mirwaiz alone can bring to the Pakistani Pandas Panthers Pangolins. Or whatever cool-sounding nickname they have chosen for themselves.

- Will block everything: Mirwaiz has been leading protests in the Kashmir Valley for several decades, and knows a thing or two about blocking. Will bring solidity to a notoriously fragile batting line-up.
- Will run well: Pakistan's running between the wickets is like watching old people slip in puddles and fall down. There is nothing remotely funny about it, but it makes everybody split their sides nevertheless. Mirwaiz the runner is here to change all that. He has a proven track record of running from the law, and will never be caught short of his ground.
- Will always be home: The only option at this point, it's becoming clear, is to trick him out. Not happening. He has spent so long in house arrest, that he will never leave his crease. Try catching him off guard now!
- Will swing the ball well: He has often swapped sides. Obviously we have here a man who has perfected the art of turning the ball either way. And given the speed at which he changes his mind, he will swing it at pace. Perfect new ball bowler to exploit those British conditions.
- Great leadership skills: It has often been lamented that the team lacks leaders, by past Pakistani players, who sigh wistfully thinking of Imran Khan's famous Cornered Tigers speech. No more. Haven't you heart the sparkling oratory of Mirwaiz? "Imran who?" is what we expect those past players to now be saying.

But it seems unlikely that we'll ever get to see any of these sparkling skills at play.


Well, when was the last time you saw a 12th man bat or bowl in a match?


Updated Date: Jun 16, 2017 16:26 PM

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