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Come on, cricket, get Pakistan back at least for the celebrations! Getty Images

They call Mohammad Hafeez ‘Professor’, and it is not for his vast trove of knowledge. Today he was manning the slip cordon with the seriousness of one. Then Rahat Ali had Alex Hales edging, and Hafeez plucked one out one that was flying at the rate of knots. The camera panned on a little boy, certainly not ten, celebrating, jumping, yelling till his voice sore, a one-man Barmy Army if there was one. And when the face of the boy came up on the giant screen, a grin spread across Hafeez s face. They were intense all the same, but they were relaxed at the same time. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs Pakistan 2016, 1st Test match at Lord s

Casual fans remember Rahat as the man who had dropped Shane Watson off Wahab Riaz in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final. Many were surprised when Pakistan went in with three left-arm fast bowlers. Some called Rahat an out-of-syllabus bowler someone England would not have expected.

Rahat tore into England s top order before they could look up his career records. Alastair Cook thin-edged one and immediately knew it. Joe Root played his second inexplicable shot of the Test. And Hales chased one away from his body. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: England vs Pakistan 2016, 1st Test match at Lord s

Rahat was fourth in Pakistan s pecking order here. Some would have picked Junaid Khan. Some others, Imran Khan. But Rahat, fourth in the line-up, suddenly did what the world expected Mohammad Aamer to: reduce England to 47 for 3.

Resistance came from unexpected corners. James Vince had not done anything of note before the Test. Gary Ballance has been struggling of late. But they stood up, firmly, taking the score closer to hundred. And when Vince fell to Wahab, Jonny Bairstow stepped up.

But this is Pakistan, a team rejuvenated by a century-making 42-year-old captain in his forties, a fast bowler on his way to redemption, a perfect mix of youth and experience.

And along with that full package, they have a wizard. A wizard who had helped Pakistan win in Sri Lanka last year, one who had stayed away from limelight when Aamer was the centre of attraction, one without a parallel in contemporary cricket.

Maybe it was a conscious effort by Pakistan to keep Yasir Shah off media focus. Rarely has he made headlines since arriving in England.

He had taken 6 for 72 in the first innings when the ball was not turning a lot. He varied his pace and beat batsmen in flight. He had bowled flat to get Vince. He had sucked Ballance out with a beautifully tossed-up delivery, making him reach out, then turning it in to trap him leg-before.

Yasir Shah s length was too full in the first session. Misbah-ul-Haq had probably expected him to get a breakthrough. He responded by ripping across one that turned almost square, and took out Moeen Ali as well. When Bairstow and Chris Woakes threatened to take it away, Yasir whisked out both.

In the end it had to be Aamer. It was only fitting that it was him. He had borne the weight of ignominy, of guilt, of humiliation for six years. He has been targeted by the media, English and otherwise, since he had arrived in England. Former cricketers have lashed out. He had to prove a point. And two quick, straight balls was all that was needed.

Spare a thought about the others as well. Hafeez cannot bowl anymore. He set off the Test with a first-innings 40. Shan Masood and Azhar Ali did not make big, but the cameos came in the second innings. Younis Khan played two innings under immense pressure, moving out of the way of fast bowlers with his unusual style. His second-innings contribution was 25, no more, but he put Pakistan out of immediate danger.

There was the Misbah hundred. There were batting contributions from the tail. There was Sarfraz Ahmed, busy, fidgety, feisty, aggressive, indomitable. And of course, there was Asad Shafiq the man who has handled English fast bowlers at their den better than almost anyone in recent past.

They all contributed, the Pakistanis. For years, even before the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers, cricket has treated them like stepchildren they have to sponsor, but not very willingly. Seldom are they invited by the big nations to play. This, despite them beating Bangladesh in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka last year.

True, there are problems. Pakistan have carried controversies with them, ranging from spot-fixing to beating up teammates inside dressing-room. But Pakistan have also carried cricket with them, cricket of the highest order, the kind no other country has been able to produce.

No, Pakistan cricketers often do not evolve through a system as evolved as their Australian or English counterparts. While that is true, it is also true that no other team has produced raw talent with such abundance over a century, if one goes back to the stars from North-West of undivided India.

They lose more fast bowlers than most countries produce. They have the most attractive yet dour of batsmen. They have the perfect fulcrum donning the big gloves. At the helm they have not one, but two men who know what it is to lose, to be ignored by the rest of the world. And fielding their weakest suit have somehow improved significantly (an outcome of preparation camps, probably), despite the occasional dropped catch.

And they have that wizard. That outrageous wizard who can run through a side.

How can you ignore Pakistan, cricket? They have not given up on you, despite everything.

Is it not time you make amends for lost time? Touring Pakistan may have security problems, but why should the fans not to get more of Pakistan in international cricket?

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor of CricketCountry and CricLife. He tweets at @ovshake42.)