As I was following the cricket today, the Grauniad’s Rob Smyth commented that The early signs are that Pakistan’s bowlers are in a state of haal, and when that’s the case they are seriously hard to withstand..

I was unfamiliar with the term haal, which, it turns out, has been used in the cricketing world for a few years now, mostly I think since Osman Samiuddin wrote about it in 2013, to mean something like in the zone, only largely applied to a team getting in the zone at the same time. According to Wikipedia, the word is used to describe a similar moment for a musical group (and among the things Mr. Samiuddin compares Pakistan’s cricket team to is devotional music) that I think would be described as in the groove. No? No. I’m old. There’s probably a term for it that is more recent than, say, 1937.


The term is derived from Sufi spiritual practice, and in that context describes a particular kind of religious ecstasy or grace, so I personally would be cautious about slinging it around in any context whatsoever. But it was tremendously evocative—much more so than the zone—when someone less cautious used it today.

Oh, and Pakistan won.


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