Pakistan would be eager to carry the momentum gained from the first Test in the rest of the series    Getty Images
Pakistan would be eager to carry the momentum gained from the first Test in the rest of the series Getty Images

When someone is pushed to the edge, he or she rises from thereon. When a team hits rock-bottom, they are expected to shine in their upcoming ventures as the only way from the bottom is upward spiral. When time and luck runs away from a team, it comes back in the most astonishing fashion. The same story has been scripted at Lord’s for Pakistan cricket team. They were booed, disgraced and shamed at the same venue in 2010 when three of their prolific players were involved in spot-fixing scandal and the world turned upside down for them. And there could have been nothing as historic as winning the first Test versus the home team at the same venue to have redeemed some pride of the shambolic incident. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs Pakistan , 1st Test match at Lord’s

The 2009 attacked triggered Pakistan’s collapse:

Surely, Pakistan can do nothing to erase the spot-fixing fiasco episode but what was expected of them on this England tour was to play with a purpose, stand by each other as they knew the world was watching. To everyone’s surprise, they ticked almost every box right. Their fall began in 2009 when Sri Lanka, touring Pakistan, were attacked by a masked gunman. Just before that series, New Zealand had abandoned their tour to Pakistan on account of a suicide bomb attack outside their hotel whereas Australia had also refused to play in the subcontinent due to similar reasons.

This incident changed the dynamics of Pakistan cricket team. Since then, only Zimbabwe have played on their home soil, that too after a lot of persuasions, as recently as in 2015. No heavyweight team has agreed to visit Pakistan and play a bilateral series. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 was held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh but the 1992 World Cup champions were not given any match to host. These things have affected them and their cricket adversely. Till date, Pakistan have hosted teams in the adopted home grounds in UAE, which shows the debacle in their stature and fight for identity.

The infamous Lord’s Test in 2010:

The 2010 Lord’s Test just added more fuel to fire when a 19-year-old Mohammad Aamer along with his senior partner in the bowling department, Mohammad Asif and Test skipper, Salman Butt got involved in a spot-fixing incident. Aamer and Asif bowled no-balls purposely on the commands of Butt, in lieu of extra money. In short, they sold the dignity and the image of their nation was severely dented. The three players were banned from international cricket but Aamer stormed his way back into the team following serving the ban which also included a jail term. He also had the benefit of age with him which enforced his way back.

The lack of unity in their dressing room:

The Pakistan team has never been known for their ‘one-for-all’ image. The likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi have taken verbal shots at each other whereas in their inaugural edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL), Ahmed Shehzad and Wahab Riaz fought on the field as if they played for different countries.Waqar Younis, after the end of his tenure as head coach in 2016, also stated that there were discipline issues within the team. These things are caught by the media and dragged for long. The opposition teams also take undue advantage of teams who lag in unity.

In short, before the 2010 Lord’s Test, their ability to host bilateral series at home was questioned. After the England tour in 2010, their image was tarnished in foreign land. Three of their players were sent to prison. They did not win any ICC event and the continuous spat between players and management continued. Things could not have been worse than this. A lot of changes were made before the tour of England this summer and they even underwent a military training, which has become the talking point after their 75-run victory. ALSO READ: Alastair Cook blames England batsmen for 1st Test loss against Pakistan at Lord’s

What has the Lord’s win given them as a team?

A win is a win but in this case, it is more than anything. The spectators and cricket experts have seen the emphatic victory of the visitors and everyone understands the importance of it. The win did not come easily. Pakistan dropped catches in England’s first innings, but as has been the case with them, they did not panic. More importantly, the team’s spirit did not fall. They kept on encouraging each other, which was pleasant to see. Almost everyone around took a dig at comeback man, Aamer, but the team was focused on the task in hand and also backed him completely. Misbah-ul-Haq had set the platform for the team with a timely hundred and his bowlers responded with regular breakthroughs.

As a result, they kept fighting till the end and their celebrations after the match proved their eagerness to win and how much it means to them. They conducted themselves much better on the field and thereby the result was in their favour. It was a much deserved and hard fought win for them. The most remarkable thing in this win was that England fans also appreciated their performance and many Indians backed their arch-rivals. Everyone wanted to see how they would do in a venue which had been a nightmare for them. Their current form in the shorter formats, lack of unity in the squad had made all the noise before this match but they have put all the negatives to rest and in style.

If Bollywood decides to make a movie on Pakistan right now, it would emerge as a big hit and gross over Rs 100 crores. They have become an instant hit as a team in the tour but it is just the start. Will they maintain the momentum in the remaining series or all the energy to prove themselves was restricted for this game? Time will only have answers to all this. Till then, the world should relish the success of a team which lost everything the last time they played at Lord’s, which has been a great equaliser for them.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)