Karachi, Pakistan: During Ramadan, a basketball court in the center of Karachi is transformed into an urban cricket stadium after midnight and right after iftar. Dozens of young Pakistani men pursue taped-up tennis balls as they fly through the night air.
Donkeys may be seen watching the action from the outfield, while goats can root through the garbage piled up close and occasionally invade the playing area.
According to batter Waqas Danish, who spoke with the AFP, “After the Taraweeh (special prayers during Ramadan), people crave entertainment so that is why many play cricket.” They stay up all night playing because if they sleep, some of them won’t be able to get up in time for breakfast.
Throughout the course of the year, you may see people playing tape-ball games all over Karachi’s streets, but during the month of Ramadan, most areas have night competitions.
For those unfamiliar with Karachi’s street cricket scene, the chaotic overlap of numerous games in a small area might be challenging to make sense of.
The quick-paced games, which last anywhere from four to six overs each inning, are over in time for sehri, the meal eaten prior to the afternoon fast. They may be anything from informal pick-up games on makeshift concrete fields to official tournaments played on dusty ovals.
Competition organizer Taqdeer Afridi told AFP in Karachi, “The kids and youths can’t afford kits and all the accessories for playing hard-ball cricket, but the tape ball is easily affordable.”
Despite the fact that wagering is illegal in Pakistan, it is not unusual for well-known mercenaries to be lured from nearby communities in exchange for cash in order to play beneath lights that covertly tap into overhead power lines.
By adding more weight to a tennis ball using electrical tape, it may be swung like a cricket ball without causing as much damage to an onlooker, a window, or a passing rickshaw.