2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2012
This is a collection of articles written over a period of time. Like a chronicle. I think it should be compulsory reading for any cricketer, especially of asian / pakistani origin. Amusing at times. Really gets across the mood and feeling of fans of the era.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2013
Often has it been said of the Pakistan cricket team: it's the most fascinating team in the history of sports. In the last decade alone it has seen more drama than most teams have in a lifetime. Since its inception it has had to overhear relentless hints and allegations (the latter mostly mumbled discreetly and so difficult to counter). Every theatre needs a cast of heroes and villains and cricket's villains are the Pakistan side - their every move and breath is watched with a Stingesque vigilance. Where other players can tamper with a ball and quietly serve their penance, Pakistan's unproven villainy is heralded with triumphant tabloid trumpets. Where other players' pitch advice and weather forecast to unnamed bookmakers are inaudibly reprimanded, Pakistani players' reputations are hung, drawn and quartered upon whisperings alone. Where other players' fixing punishments are meted out in stony silence, Pakistan's are spot-lighted in the full glare of the media moonlight. In short they are pariahs; the uncouth cousins of the cricketing fraternity.
And yet! And yet, a perennially unpredictable side, its brash, audacious and flamboyant brand of cricket has left both its fans and neutral spectators gasping. As has its peerless ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Its players are passionate, never more so when brimming with Byzantine intrigue and in full throttle rivalry with team mates. When roused their roar is deafening; when sapped they capitulate spinelessly. So much talent, so little temperament!
Despite being cricketing nomads, hawking their coffins from foreign pitch to pitch, its fast bowlers are snorting stallions, its spinners canny and the strokemakers burning briefly but brightly. How does this team, despite a domestic cricketing desert, continue to perform, for the most part, competitively against sides that are better funded, organised and stable? What are the founding myths of the team? What are the pedestrian realities? Where does conventional wisdom, bar-room philosophy and empirical data part way?
These are the questions that any history of Pakistan cricket (modern or otherwise) needs to explore and address. It needs to tumble and grabble with these concerns; yes, it needs to dig deep and soil its hands with these issues.
With its grandiose title, Zindabad: The English Chronicles - A Modern History Of Pakistan Cricket promises all this. The prospective reader rubs his lips and licks his hands with gleeful anticipation. Soon he will be biting his knuckles in bitter disillusionment while gurgling with frustration. This wasn't what the tin said! It promised a history of modern Pakistani cricket. The rise and fall of a cricketing nation. The struggling to its knees, the slow baby steps of a rehabilitating cricketing nation. Once the grand packaging is greedily ripped off the actual present is merely a collection of Abbasi's reporting of Pakistani cricket with a few pieces on race identity thrown in. It starts with Abbasi's early reminisces of the 1982 Pakistan tour of England, the first series helmed by the regal Imran Khan. And swiftly moves to the late 90s leaving the intervening years almost unaccounted for. This is a serious flaw in a book which regards itself as a history of modern Pakistani cricket, not least because these years were its heights.
Abbasi's writings have an easy conversational style but are rather dry and humourless (Wodehouse needn't worry). Neither is he very insightful (Orwell needn't worry). Had he entitled his book more modestly one would not have expected so much, been so sorely disappointed nor had much reason to grumble.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2013
Zindabad: English Chronicles by Kamran Abbasi is a collection of writing on the never-dull topic of the Pakistan cricket team and its tumultuous relationship with the England cricket team.
The articles are collated from a range of different sources and thus vary in style and content, thus taken as a whole they make a provide a scrapbook of memories. Mr Abbasi has a writing style that is simultaneously authoritative and compassionate which makes this, in his own words 'labour of love' a pleasure to read. From the accounts of Imran Khan's pride and passion to the ever-entertaining antics of Shahid Afridi, to the shrewd brilliance of Javed Mianadad, this book is sure to delight the cricket fan, and in particular followers of Pakistan.
While this book brings back memories so vividly, Pakistan fans will acknowledge that the memories are not always so pleasant, but they are part and parcel of the history of Pakistan-England cricket. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.