For six years, six long years we were left out in the cold. Our best bowlers had been jailed along with the captain. We had just been exiled from home, leaderless we were set adrift in a barren wasteland; but it is always darkest before the dawn.

Maybe this was a blessing in disguise that Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younis Khan didn’t make the cut for that tour, because they came back into a broken, soulless and leaderless team and transformed it into a unit. A unit that is once again the toast of the nation as it defeated England at Lord’s for the first time in 20 years, closing the chapter on one of the darkest eras in our long and proud cricketing history.

It took six years for the cycle to be completed; six years of playing in front of empty seats in searing heat with no people to cheer them on. While we were short on talented players, but we soldiered on, with determination, blood, guts, toil, tears and sweat we defeated England twice, outplaying them in every department.

We swept past Australia, as Misbah pulverized them to break the record of the fastest fifty and equaling the record for the fastest hundred. We held New Zealand and South Africa. We won away at Sri Lanka with a world record chase and lest we forget the famous “Maghrib chase” and Misbah taunting his critics by mimicking tears rolling down his cheeks.

The team turned U.A.E into an impenetrable fortress and we have only lost six Test series out of a grand total of twenty-nine. A remarkable stat that reaches for a team in exile, the team slowly climbed up the table to reach number three in the Test rankings and briefly flirting with the number two position. This success was built on hard work, determination and most importantly as a unit, all eleven players coming together to beat the odds.

One thing always remained, hanging like a dark cloud: the tour of England. But the team had to wait for redemption and they waited patiently for the time they would tour England again. The time came to prove their mettle this summer and the PCB, knowing that this was the moment they had been waiting for, left no stone untouched in the preparations. The team was sent to Kakul for a fitness camp and they were flown much earlier to England, so that the team could acclimatize itself with the weather conditions. Misbah postponed his retirement and put his legacy on the line to lead his team once more – always thinking of the team first that man.

Misbah’s personality and new look really show what this team is about. You only have to look at him and know that the team is cool, calm, grizzled, weathered, but always ready for a fight. The way he led the team from the front to this historic win was mesmerizing. His century, then the celebration…

And his team didn’t let him down. Everyone chipped in with Yasir being the main star. Yasir’s smile and exuberance can solve everything that is wrong in this world; he is that good. Asad was a joy to watch. He was the most technically sound batsman on both sides and completely felt at home. Wahab was deadly with the ball and Amir was Amir, my heart weeps for the lost years and what could have been… Rahat was on-song as well.

The celebration summed up the six years that the team had spent in the wilderness and Cricinfo summed it up beautifully: 

“The Pakistan team has arranged themselves in two rows. I think they are going to do push-ups again. Younis is making sure all of them are in line. And it’s the entire squad, even the substitutes. Five press-ups and then a jump and then a salute. They have laid a marker at Lord's; they have sounded a warning to England and indeed to the world. ‘Not just in the UAE,’ it reads.”

That hard work has paid off; today the team has announced to the world that this is where we stand. Throw whatever you want at us and we will stand up and punch right back. Whatever may come, we will never back down and come back stronger than before. I have never been more proud of being a Pakistani cricket fan.