Cricket does its bit for Pakistani flood victims
On a cold and blustery night in Den Haag on Friday, a couple of hundred members of the Netherlands’ Pakistani community turned out to raise money for the victims of the disastrous floods in their homeland by doing what they grew up doing – playing tapeball cricket.
Organised by a committed group of cricketers called the Pak Patriots, chaired by Voorburg wicketkeeper-batsman Mohsin Salman, the informal tournament involved eight teams, drawn from Amsterdam, Den Haag and Rotterdam.
The players and a crowd of a hundred or so supporters were undeterred by the cold and gusty wind and by a heavy shower which delayed the start, scheduled for 8:30, by half an hour or so. They even managed to overcome the sudden disappearance of the floodlights on the main ground at HBS Den Haag, which was blacked out shortly before 11:00.
With hosts HBS unable to override the timer switch, the organisers shifted the event onto an adjacent hockey pitch, where play continued until 3:00 in the morning. The winners were eventually a Den Haag Green combination, led by Excelsior ‘20’s Usman Malik – who doubled as a commentator when his team weren’t playing.
The event was opened by Pakistani ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudry and Den Haag city councillor Mitra Rambaran, who presented a cheque for €1500 on behalf of the Gemeente. And by the end of the night that sum had been doubled, which Salman regards as a reasonable outcome in the circumstances.
‘We’re quite happy with that result in view of the terrible weather and the problems with the lights,’ he said on Saturday, ‘and I am sure we will be able to help someone’s life back in Pakistan with these donations.’
Welcoming the initiative, Mitra Rambaran recalled that in 1953, when the Netherlands suffered disastrous floods of its own, the new nation of Pakistan, which had been in existence for just six years, responded with a consignment of tea.
‘The city’s contribution this evening,’ she added, ‘is a symbol of friendship between two nations, between multi-communities living in this city with harmony.’