Khalid Latif and the ‘average’ man’s misery in Pakistan

On the rare occasion he was picked for ODIs, he scored 29.40 runs… solidly average. In T20Is, he scored roughly eight less… below average.

He never played Test cricket…ergo doesn’t even qualify for below average there.

He had his moments in domestic cricket but was found out at the level above… more classic signs of an average player.

The way I would remember him — if I do — is by a batsman who couldn’t move his feet to save his life but who had enough hand power to hit a few out the park.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to thee cricketer Khalid Latif, or the way I saw him: Mr Average.

My man Khalid is so average if you gave him a Rs50 and a Rs100 bill, the first thing he’d do is divide them by two to leave you with an average of 75 (more on doing stupid stuff for money later).

Because he is average, average is what he does. Or average is all that he does.

So when the opportunity to pocket some extra cash arose in the Pakistan Super League second season, Khalid, ever the one to avoid extremities, was neither the ringleader a la Nasir Jamshed nor the alleged whistleblower in the manner of Umar Amin.

He was right in the middle of it.

Our Average Khalid was allegedly among the ones who consented to fixing. Balkay forget allegedly, he consented (knowing him and after the inductive reasoning above, he must have).

Let’s recap a bit at this point.

What we’ve learned so far is Khalid Latif is an average cricketer who was mostly on the fringes of the national team. His averages were average, he looked average and I never saw him speak but he must sound average too.

But while he may be average, the punishment given to him by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for his part in the fixing fiasco was bigger than everyone else’s (yes, the preamble is finally over).

Khalid’s attorney pleaded and screamed that the co-accused Sharjeel Khan also committed the same crime yet half of his five-year ban is suspended while his client’s is not? Mind you, the gargantuan Mohammad Irfan escaped with a measly six-month ban albeit for a lesser offence, but still, only “SIX MONTHS… can’t emphasise that more.

Rumour has it that the PCB was even pushing for a life ban in Khalid’s case, so pissed they were with his average everything.

“So why this disparity? Why treat Khalid differently?” we ask on Khalid’s behalf.

The answer is simple: because Khalid, all through his life and career, was average.

He was never an asset, never a swinging Sultan, never a wunderkind, never a 7’1 giant and not even a hard-hitting southpaw opener with a Brian Lara-like hook.

He was more an Ataur Rehman — Khalid’s soulmate from the past — both never quite good. And he also a bit like Salim Malik — both on the wrong side of 30 when shit hit the fan, and hence, dispensable.

Pakistan, lexically, is the land of the pure. What it certainly isn’t is the land of the average Joes. Be an average Joe on these shores at your own risk. Because if you are, when push comes to shove, you will make a fine scapegoat. Then, the long arm of the law won’t just find you, it will strangle you to death too.

And as the spirit slowly leaves behind your average being, the likes of Wasim Akram, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan and even Sharjeel Khan would’ve lived to die another day.

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