A part of Pakistan’s cricket history is tainted, but it happened long back. Most of the current players of the team were school-going kids then. Time went on, the face of international cricket changed, but Pakistan is still struggling with the scars of the unfortunate incident at Lord’s in 2010 that rocked the cricketing world.
It was also the time when social media was making out the space for fans and giving them voice. However, while social media had the power to bring the fans closer to the game and the players, similar to two faces of a coin, it also gave birth to trolls – the unnamed, anonymous who could throw dirt at anybody, at anybody’s expense and would never be known. The wrath of angry fans could be easily felt and trolls cashed in on it.
More than a decade later, more the fans it’s trolls who are now unfortunately dominating the news space. Crossing their limits has become a norm and vile, hateful personal attacks, not just on the players but family has been on the rise, and alarming so.
Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali is the latest victim of one such social media trial. The moment he dropped the catch of Matthew Wade in Thursday’s T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final in Dubai, a large section of cricket fans – or if we can call them that - declared him a sinner.
Just one mistake and all hell broke loose. Ali was brutally bashed on almost every social platform but does he really deserve this much hatred?
None of his actions in the entire T20 World Cup looked scripted or half-hearted. The way Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi and others performed was commendable; Ali’s was no different.
If you look at the picture from a cricket lover’s perspective, it won’t be a herculean task to observe the right-arm quick’s battle with himself. Given his international experience, it must have been easier to understand that something was wrong. Something was holding him back from his jubilant celebrations. But Ali didn’t let the emotions take over his mind. Instead, he pushed himself harder and that was only possible when you are backed by your captain and management.
Babar Azam did a commendable job being around a teammate in his low. And when one of his best bowlers dropped a crucial catch, he wasn’t hesitant to take a stand. Azam, without a second thought, said, “I will back him. After all, a player only commits mistakes on the field. He is my best bowler and has won games for Pakistan in the past."
If a captain, a team, management, and a plethora of former legends of the game can stand by Hasan Ali and appreciate his efforts, why can’t the fans? You have the freedom to sneak into someone’s world on some of the popular mobile apps but mind you, who on earth gives you the legit right to make remarks on someone’s character or personal life.
That’s a barrier that needs to be maintained. People must understand that cricket is just a game and that a team can win if the other side loses. An individual engaged in this process is prone to making errors. Since every move impacts the result, every unsuccessful act becomes a lesson for the next step after the results are out. Cheeky banters are always welcomed but crossing the line and hurling abuses on a cricketer who had spent uncountable sleepless nights waiting to earn the national jersey is simply unacceptable.
His countrymen should stand by him, understand his situation and allow him to return stronger in the next game instead of writing him off with agony.
He too is a human being, after all.