Once upon a time, there was a Pakistani knight named Misbahul Haq. Much like Ser Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones, his old age made critics argue that he was incapable of carrying out his duties, yet the batsman was eager to prove everyone wrong.
So he worked hard on his fitness and even at the age of 42, attended military camps where he competed with and overwhelmed players half his age. Yet, still there was talk of how much fight this warrior had left in him.
Then came the battlefield of Lord’s, and supporters and opponents were left in awe of this veteran.
With a knock of 114 on his Test debut on English soil, Misbah became the talk of the cricketing world. And if that wasn’t enough, his celebration surely made tongues wiggle when the veteran did 10 push-ups to show respect to his military trainers.
In the post-match conference, he revealed that the push-ups were for the trainers of Pakistan Army.
“I promised them [army trainers] I would do 10 push-ups if I score a century on this tour,” he said. “We had an honour code on the boot camp, for push-ups, so that was my promise to them the next time I scored 100. So that was for them, and the salute was for the flag.”
However, the honourable knight later admitted that his drill sergeant would probably have sent him back to do another set of push-ups since his arms were too bent the first time around.
According fitness website Greatist.com, there are three basic guidelines to perform a perfect push-up:
1. Get into a high plank position
Place your hands firmly on the ground, directly under shoulders. Ground your toes into the floor to stabilize your lower half. Brace your core and flatten your back so your entire body is neutral and straight.
2. Lower your body
Keeping your back flat, lower your body until your chest grazes the floor. Make sure your body remains in straight line from head to toe. Draw shoulder blades back and down, keeping elbows tucked close to your body.
3. Push back up
Exhale as you push back to the starting position and imagine as if you are screwing your hands into the ground as you push back up.
As people jump the bandwagon, so did the players of Pakistan cricket team, who celebrated their victory at Lord’s against England with similar, albeit more imperfect push-ups.
Nevertheless, little was known that the trend of imperfect push-ups would be taken to a whole new level, with local sports ministers also indulging himself, uncessarily if we may add.
On Monday, Sindh’s sports minister, Sardar Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar, challenged Punjab’s sports minister to do 50 push-ups after the young minister exhibited his physical prowess in a video circulated on social media.
The dare went viral within minutes, attracting taunts and ridicule from politicians and commentators for Mahar, who joined the provincial cabinet just over a week ago.
While the young minister might have thrown down the gauntlet to his counterparts in an innocuous effort to promote sports, his boastful attempt drew intense criticism at the Sindh government, which is already notorious for its inept and corrupt ways.
On closer inspection, the push-up barely even qualified as one — failing to meet any of the criteria listed above.
So, in the end, the pure and honourable act of performing a push-up has now been tainted by a self-serving politician. And the memory of a heroic innings is quickly being turned into a method of gaining political points.
Here’s our challenge for you Mr Mahar: Qualify our athletes for the next Olympics, qualify our football team for the next World Cup, do anything but ‘challenges’ that only serve you and nobody else.