GeneralFrom Tears to Cheers: Naseem Shah’s Joyous Victory – A Tale of Finally Finding Happiness in Cricket

From Tears to Cheers: Naseem Shah’s Joyous Victory – A Tale of Finally Finding Happiness in Cricket

Luck is an essential ingredient in the recipe of life, much like the sweetness of sugar in a cake. Similar to how sugar enhances the cake’s flavor, luck enriches the experiences of life, making it more enjoyable. Without it, life loses its essence, akin to a cake missing its sweetness.

But luck has never been Naseem’s best friend, whether in life or cricket. He has always struggled against its adverse currents, persistently battling for even a glimpse of its favor to complement his identity as a person and a cricketer. He has always had it tough.

The night before his Test debut, with miles separating him from home, he received devastating news: his mother passed away. As he stepped forward to receive his cap with tears in his eyes, there felt a void where her proud gaze should have been. Hard luck in life!

Bowling in a crucial final of a T20 World Cup. With the team on the brink of defeat, he relentlessly pushed himself to turn the tide, something he has always tried to do for his side. Knowing that it’d be hard to get past Ben Stokes’ luck at that time. Each delivery saw him narrowly miss the edge of the bat, yet another reminder of the perpetual absence of luck in his cricketing journey. Hopelessly, he ended up bowling a terrific wicketless spell, one which figures will never be able to justify. Hard luck in cricket, too!

But luck finally decided to smile upon him when he led Islamabad United to their third PSL title, making them the most successful franchise in the history of PSL. Remember when he told Mohammad Abbas in a Test match vs New Zealand? “Abbas bhai, aap ko pata hai abh ye sari zimmedari meray oper hai?” He knew that once again, “zimmedari” (responsibility) was on him, and one thing about him is that he will never leave you stranded when you need him. His 17(9) was ballistic and short, but it was something that opened the door to a definite win for his team. To hit a 6 off the last delivery in the 18th over with all the nerves involved was one of its own kind, but that followed by denying the strike to Imad Wasim & that flick off the attempted leg stump yorker through midwicket – how does Naseem Shah do it?

He might not have made it to the final ball, but guess what? His younger version, Hunain Shah, was there to do what he had always been doing. Hunain followed his elder brother’s footsteps and gently dabbed it towards the gap between backward point and short third, securing the winning runs for Islamabad United. Does it run in the genes? Because what else can be the explanation for this magical ending?

Naseem finally had his happy ending. He finally had a sprinkle of luck on his side this time. It was not the Naseem we saw with slumped shoulders at Mount Maunganui in 2020 who failed to hold on for the last twelve overs of the game. It was not the dejected Naseem on a cold, foggy evening at Rawalpindi in 2022 who battled hard to make it to the end of the final day but lost his wicket and his hopes when those three reds displayed on the big screen, “O U T”. It was not the same Naseem we saw charging in relentlessly in the T20 WC final only for the best deliveries to be thwarted by the edge of either Stokes’ or Buttler’s bat.

It was a different Naseem that night. Dashed around the ground with open arms like a joyful bird. It was the Naseem every Pakistan fan hopes to witness: brimming with happiness and ecstasy, unsure of what to do or where to go. But he’s there, and he has made it. He has found the happy ending. Or the happy ending has found him. Either way, they’ve finally made it to each other, with luck playing its subtle part in the background.

His mother may not have been present physically there to see him winning today, something which he must have dreamed of since he got into cricket. But Naseem had his father alongside him, who had not just one but three gems to be proud of.

Naseem is gold dust. He is precious. Protect him. Cherish him. Treasure him. Watch him grow and witness his journey as he climbs to the highest echelons of greatness. One day, he’ll bring glory home – perhaps very soon; you never know!

The opinions expressed solely belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Grassroots Cricket.

The author

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