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Thursday Jun 24 2021

Sarim Akhtar, of cricket meme fame, advises Pakistan team against 'ghabrana' when facing England

LONDON: British Pakistani meme star Sarim Akhtar says he’s looking forward to Pakistan national cricket team’s visit to the UK to play T20 and one-day matches against England next month but hopes the team will not break the hearts of its followers like his heart was broken when his disappointed look went viral across the world.

Sarim Akhtar’s picture from the Pakistan vs Australia ICC Cricket World Cup on June 14, 2019, at Taunton went viral on social media, giving birth to one of the greatest memes of all time. Akhtar expressed his profound disappointment when Asif Ali dropped David Warner's catch off a Wahab Riaz ball.

He had no idea that within minutes he had broken the internet and while he was on his seat, the media approached him with interview requests.

Recalling how two years ago, Sarim Akhtar became an international meme sensation

Speaking to Geo News near his home in North London, Akhtar advised the Pakistani team that “ghabrana nahi hai” as “the worst that can happen to you is you lose the game but please put up a fight till the end and show discipline”.

Akhtar said it was a pleasant surprise for him that on June 12 this year the International Cricket Council (ICC) tweeted the meme again, thus injecting new fervour into it. “My meme gets shared everyday and for all occasions but for the ICC to tweet it was quite a big thing and that unleashed a new wave of memes.”

Akhtar is proud that his meme brings smiles to faces everyday, from India and Pakistan to Yemen and Turkey.

“People message me and thank me for that meme. I get feedback everyday from all over the world and the best feedback is that people use my meme in their daily lives, for enjoyment, on family occasions, to show love and disappointment, on keychains, on social media and in real life — all the time. I am so happy that the world is using it.”

Akhtar revealed that his favourite iteration of the meme is an edited one, the one which shows him from behind, his head in a washroom and returning to the stadium within minutes, showing that almost half of the battling line up has collapsed in a matter of a few minutes.

He looks forward to watching the matches of the Pakistan cricket team again next month and hopes that Pakistani players will display consistency.

He commented: “In my opinion, Shadab and Hassan are the two players I really like, they have a lot of game sense. They show aggression and deliver and they can make us successful. I will be attending the matches with my friends.”

The meme star says that he had driven from London to Taunton for three hours and he was particularly unhappy on that fateful day that his effort had gone to waste as Pakistan lost the crucial match.

“My family and friends joke that I took the look of anger and disappointment from my home that day and showed the same to the whole world. I don’t disagree with that,” he says jokingly.

Sarim Akhtar works as an auditor for a multinational company near London Bridge.

The Karachi-born British Pakistani lives in North London with his wife and two children.