You’d have to have the hardest of hearts not to feel for this Pakistan cricket team. Not only did they make the worst start to an inning in World Cup history, losing their first four wickets for only one run, but they managed to achieve what no other squad has managed: they turned the formerly fractious, despondent, and sinking West Indies into a coherent, joyous, and resurgent squad (at least until the next match). For a team bursting with talent, playing for a country passionately committed to the game, and under a captain (Misbah ul-Haq) who, as Walt Whitman would put it, contains multitudes, Pakistan’s side leave you on the edge of your seat for all the wrong reasons. It can beat anybody and lose to anyone on any given day; its players can pull off the remarkable and perform woefully—sometimes in the course of the same match. Given England’s equally dismal start to its World Cup campaign, it’s a pity that they won’t play each other until hell freezes over and they make it through to the play-off rounds. It would, as Hamlet‘s Polonius might put it, be a performance “tragical-comical-historical-pastoral,” but it would be very entertaining.
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