Sports

Making isolation productive

Written by Omair Alavi

During the lockdown, update yourself about your favorite sport through YouTube, by reading books and by watching documentaries online

Before COVID-19 halted sports proceedings around the world, sports enthusiasts complained of having no time to update themselves regarding their favorite sport. Some missed the World Cup; some didn’t find time to search for past matches and there were others who rejected records they didn’t witness. During this lockdown, you can update yourself about your favorite sport through YouTube, reading articles and viewing documentaries online. Go through the following instructions and you will end up as the wisest person in the room, once the lockdown ends. Read on:

Cricket

If you don’t remember who scored the fastest century in ODIs, who has the highest score in T20Is or which bowlers have taken a hat-trick since you last checked the record, now is the chance to update your data. There are a handful of books out there that can make you fall in love with Pakistan cricket. Richard Heller and Peter Oborne’s collaboration White on Green, Qamar Ahmed’s Far More Than A Game, Peter Oborne’s Wounded Tiger: A History of Pakistan Cricket and Osman Safiuddin’s the Unquiet Ones are a few books that you can read during isolation and learn all there is to know about Pakistan cricket.

Browse through YouTube, check websites such as Cricinfo and watch documentaries on Amazon Prime and Netflix regarding cricket to stay relevant. There is a method behind Australia’s rise to the top and that’s discussed in The Test; Fire in Babylon talks about cricket’s most fearsome bowling side. Don’t worry if you didn’t know Fahim Ashraf dismissed three international cricketers on as many deliveries or that Glenn McGrath scored a half-century before he retired. Use this time to become the cricket enthusiast that made you special in the eyes of your friends!

Hockey

Pakistan might not be the most powerful nation in hockey today, but the Green-shirts were once to hockey what the West Indies were to cricket. Their losses made the headlines, and opponents loved it when a match ended in a draw. To know about the glory days there are a couple of books that one must read — Islahuddin’s Dash Through My Life and Sydney Friskin’s Going For Gold: Pakistan at Hockey. In Islah’s autobiography, the former World Cup-winning athlete talks about missing a trip to the Olympics, then winning the World Cup, Champions Trophy, and other mega-events, before being made to quit and switch to a career behind the microphone.

Going For Gold talks about Pakistan’s glory days which incidentally happened before the country turned fifty, and also discusses the many controversies that hit the team during that time. If you browse through YouTube, you will be able to witness many old matches, including the Olympic Games final of 1984, the Champions Trophy and World Cup victory in 1994 besides other matches. Update yourself now so that whenever the word hockey is mentioned, your head is high because of the glory days than low because of what we hope is a passing phase.

Squash

During the first 50 years of Pakistan’s existence, squash was the most rewarding sport as Pakistan produced world-class players one after another. You get to learn a lot about the game from the many articles online, but the best way to understand Pakistan’s dominance is to go through Dicky Rutnagur’s Khans Unlimited. Published on Pakistan’s fiftieth anniversary, this book takes you down the memory lane and will keep you engaged, such were the exploits of the great men to represent Pakistan in squash. Be it talking about Jahangir Khan’s unbroken record of 555 victories or the confusing family tree of the Khans, this book talks about it all and will make you a more proud Pakistani than you are now.

Tennis

And then there is tennis, a sport where Pakistan has always been treated as an outsider except when Aisam-ul-Haq is representing the country. Who can forget his brilliant run at the US Open 2010 when he qualified for the finals of both the men’s doubles as well as mixed doubles! It was followed by a speech that no Pakistani can ever forget. That’s not all, Aisam penned a book Lessons Learnt from the Tennis Tour with Robert Davis that will encourage youngsters to take up tennis and take Aisam’s legacy forward by playing at the top, like a true professional. And if you want to improve the game, watch classic Wimbledon finals available on YouTube to understand what made the great players great!

About the author

Omair Alavi