We are all dreading the lockdown, and understandably so. The period of standstill leaves us fuming with a sense of restlessness. The only question in these times where cricket has been delayed indefinitely is one everybody is thinking about.
After all, when will Cricket resume? But could it be that this lockdown has passed on major learning to us?
Probably, something that can be asked in the form of a question. Ever heard the phrase- we only come to realize the true value of someone when one isn’t around.
For when one is, our attention is elsewhere.
For much of 2020, our attention was with the biggest event in the women’s game: the T20 World Cup, and boy, what a trailblazing event that was. India emerged the second best, the Proteas were on fire, there were thrills from Thailand but Australia came up trumps.
Only now that we have all the time in the world to reflect on the game, we are in for a shock.
The news that Sana Mir has called time on her career has prompted a whirlwind wave of emotion. The eyes that stay transfixed on mobile apps and TV screens at odd hours to focus on live proceedings are moist.
Some Are In For An Indescribable Shock
To those for whom Pakistan has meant Sana Mir and Sana Mir has invariably meant Pakistan’s success story are crying a river.
Nothing you can say can emote the feeling.
In an age where anyone- even the executor of a mishit to seal a win in just about any T20I- is called a great, here was an actual great.
Here’s a cricketer in whom the phrase greatness finds its better half. You know you’re special when not only do your teammates regard you but the opposition respects you.
With the flair to fight for Pakistan and the passion to bowl, time and again, match-winning spells built on the painfully correct tedium of keeping economy in check, Sana Mir excelled in the batswoman’s age.
No longer will Cricket witness a standard-bearer of excellence, who delightfully gave much of herself toward helping others shape their fine careers.
Sana Mir Doesn’t Only Reside In Outstanding Wickets Column Alone
Her excellence goes beyond 240 international wickets.
They cannot alone be determined by an outstanding feat she’s widely hailed for, that of becoming the first from Pakistan women’s game to 100 ODI scalps.
Sana Mir’s impact resides in the fabulous careers she helped shape around her.
She will continue to reside in the exemplary current forces of the team she ferried to heights.
Ask Bismah Maroof. Check with Javeria Khan.
See the emotion in the great Nain Abidi’s eyes and the respect Diana Baig holds for her ‘idol’.
No longer will tight bowling spells marked with quintessential discipline, and backed by economy take Pakistan to new heights.
Yet above anything, no longer will Cricket find the one who persisted on the 22 yards and was so willing to often go uncelebrated, so long as her team was in the spotlight.
The team for which she shone the brightest, in 2017, emerging as the spinner with most ODI wickets, even ahead of Anisa Mohammed.
Interestingly, In Sana Mir, World Cricket Found An Equalizer Of Sorts
While on the one hand, the men’s sport has continued the easy climb toward greater success, wider audiences, and, hence bigger revenues, the women’s game, on the other hand, always searched for leaders.
In someone like Sana Mir, a career that spanned 15 years, the template for the women’s sport expanded, finding a figurehead who was delighted to lead and excel, at the same time.
It’s only now that Sana Mir has stopped, though not before emerging as a yardstick for excellence, that we’ll once again resort to the very basic tenets that made her stand out.
These are values that made her who she is, which the constantly tweeting, status-updating, mocha-sipping, the bling-wearing sensibilities cannot immediately identify with.
For someone who told girls back in Pakistan- “don’t have smooth arms but strong arms”- cricket was second nature to Sana Mir, as was the desire to do things correctly; the idea that playing for one’s pride meant playing for the team.
Sana Mir Didn’t Always Have It Easy.
Many of her peaks were scaled with Pakistan in disarray. Even when she equalled the record for the most ODI wickets in the game, taking her 146th scalp and drawing level with Lisa Sthalekar and Anisa Mohammed, the contest ended with the Proteas drubbing Pakistan women.
Yet, what kept the team going was the leader’s outstanding feat.
The peach of the delivery that removed Andrie Steyn in the 23rd over was just as special as the brilliant debut spell of 4 overs for 19 against Sri Lanka. Remember 2005?
In a game that’s changed like spring making way for the summer, Sana Mir has remained the great constant for a Pakistan that once combatted with Asmavia Iqbal at the top of her game to making way for a new generation comprising Nida Dar.
Sana Mir Has Always Epitomized The Unflickering Faith Of Cricket Lovers
Moreover, in an age of instant gratification, Sana Mir has proven that longevity is probably the key to all that success.
It’s a feat that has allowed her to get under the skin of the batswomen, breaching past defences, absorbing all the runs off the willow, and in the process, surprising everyone whether Lanning or Smriti, Sophie Devine or Mithali.
Someone who made the unassuming, unfashionable art of off-spin- that lacks the flair and finesse leg-break- become the “action to emulate.”
And that’s true for girls picking up the sport whether in the streets of Abbottabad, the maidans of Karachi or those excelling at backyard cricket in Adelaide.
The unmatched ability to quite simply put a lid on the scoring rate, aking to someone putting a gigantic rock on the little opening of water, Sana Mir struck a very enviable 7 four-wicket-hauls in ODIs.
On top of that, she’s collected over 2,400 runs and struck 3 fifties.
The first bowler ever from Pakistan to top the ICC bowling rankings and only the sixth in the women’s game to hold the enviable double of 1,000 ODI runs and 100 wickets, Sana Mir also epitomizes a fading DNA of sorts.
In an age where trolling and name-calling are often the norms, to emerge as someone who neither sledged nor was ever given a send-off, Sana Mir highlights the one lasting companion to all achievements and in it, a lesson for younger generations.
That may be one can do it all by just being simple or that honesty is so often undervalued- aren’t they?
Maybe that’s why nearly every dominant women’s outfit excels at the back of an extraordinary character.
If White Ferns made life difficult for the others with Bates and Devine and where Lanning and Perry drew admiration from all corners, Sana Mir ensured Pakistan always remained in the business.
Always with a smile, minus any arrogance and always with grace.