For all sports lovers, Pakistani athletes’ grabbing medals in the South Asian games is a pleasant surprise. However, their wins may not shift the nation’s conversation from and obsession with cricket. The fear is that hardly any state official or elected representative will welcome the national heroes on their return to home. Such behaviour is more than enough to show the state’s interest in sports other than cricket. There is no explanation for the brilliant performance of the Pakistani athletes other than believing the saying that in Pakistan most things defy logic.

The government remains indifferent to the plight of any other sport in Pakistan. Sports in the country have been in decline for quite a while, and there has been no interest on the government’s part in reviving them. Ironically, even these days when the sitting Prime Minister (PM) himself was once a sportsman of the highest calibre, the state is not doing much for the revival of sports in the country.

Though the federal government in the 2018-19 fiscal budget announced building 100 stadiums across the country for the development of sports, however, there has not been a single word regarding patronage of athletes. Government patronage and a lack of sporting facilities have left the country’s gyms and playing grounds in a dilapidated condition. Pakistani athletes say the outdated equipment and obsolete training methods are the reasons why they cannot compete in international competitions. Many would find Pakistan Sports Board an easy scapegoat for the decline of sports in the country.

Pakistan’s sports budget – the lowest in South Asia – is the reason that the country is unable to produce world-class athletes. Needless to say that the obsessive focus on cricket to the exclusion of all else is damaging both cricket and other sports. The Asian Games show that there is enough talent in the country for other sports; hence moving away from cricket will be best for reviving other sports.