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Monday, Dec 06, 2021
Outlook.com
cricket: pakistan

A Catch In The Deep

The Faith over the pitch. The Pakistan team is riven over the players' souls.

A Catch In The Deep
AP
A Catch In The Deep
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Those days of cricketing insouciance are now memory, as are so many other aspects of secular life in Pakistan. Every prize presentation ceremony has captain Inzamam-ul-Haq begin his soundbite with "Bismillah (In the name of Allah)"; players huddle to pray on the ground during pre-match preparations; 'Islamic beards' are sported as an advertisement of their faith; batsmen have been known to cramp up because they fast and play during Ramzan.

The responsibility for this fervent religiosity are a clutch of players—Inzy, Mushtaq Ahmed (bowling coach), Mohammed Yousuf, Saqlain Mushtaq, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Yasser Hameed—who have become members of the Tableeghi Jamaat, or the 'party of preachers'. The TJ, an exact Arabic translation of which is the Proselytising Group, occupies itself participating in functions organised to propagate Islam and stressing on the virtues of an 'authentic Islamic lifestyle'. TJ has invaded the dressing room—they can be seen praying with players and reciting the Quran for the team's success. As TJ membership makes it incumbent upon a person to preach, Inzy reportedly went to Gujranwala, Punjab, on a three-day preaching tour, before flying off to South Africa for the recently concluded series.

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