The world as we know it has been turned upside down. First there was Brexit. Then Trump. Then Corbyn (well, kind of). But now the biggest shock of them all: Pakistan winning the Champions Trophy.
Ok, perhaps it’s wrong to suggest that a cricket tournament is anywhere near as important as the first three upsets above, but I’m sure it will feel seismic for some hardcore (not to mention long-suffering) Pakistan supporters.
Just three weeks ago Pakistan were written off completely. They were, after all, ranked a dismal 8th in the world rankings. And let’s not forget that the Champions Trophy only has eight teams.
I remember thinking that Pakistan might not win a single game. They’d been derided as old fashioned – a team incapable of scoring 300 – and their coach, Mickey Arthur, seemed completely fed up with them.
Make no mistake about it. This Champions Trophy was supposed to be all about England … or possibly India. But the mercurial Pakistanis (forgive the cliche) weren’t having a bar of it. They completely destroyed the hosts, and then they completely destroyed their local rivals in the final.
The sight of Indian supporters streaming out of The Oval long before the end – something I thought was a poor show to be honest – must have been a most gratifying one for Pakistanis everywhere. Who needs the bloody IPL eh?!
I think this Pakistan triumph is the most surprising result we’ve had in a international 50-over competition for a long time. It probably eclipses the West Indies’ unlikely win in 2004 simply because the primary hero, Fakhar Zaman, had only played three ODIs before yesterday’s beautiful hundred.
The context of Pakistan’s victory is also remarkable. As I mentioned above, Pakistan were supposed to be an anachronism. We read so much about how modern white ball cricket has changed, and how the successful teams are ones who evolve over a period of time. Andrew Strauss might call it a ‘development pathway’.
Pakistan don’t seem to buy into all that bollocks. Then just turn up and win. And it doesn’t particularly matter how many games they lost beforehand.
Now that’s a narrative I can definitely buy into.
PS Just a quick note to say that I had an amazing time yesterday evening watching Lashings play Crowborough in Sussex. There were plenty of big names on show: Tino Best, Fidel Edwards, John Emburey, and Martin Bicknell to name a few.
It was quite funny watching club batsmen trying to play Best and Edwards. Their main strategy – and this seemed like thoroughly sensible ploy after their opener was hit on the helmet in the first over – was to play them from square leg. Fortunately there were no lasting injuries.
Man of the match was Chris Schofield (remember him?) who hit 60 odd. However, the bloke who made my day was the fella below, who I spotted walking around the outfield. He’s probably the most decorated 12th man in history. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mr Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge MBE #legend.