CHENNAI: Sporting activity has come to a grinding halt across the globe in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Many sportspersons have come forward to lend a helping hand to those in need at the moment. Recently, cricketers Irfan and Yusuf Pathan too donated 4,000 masks in Vadodara. The younger Pathan spoke to this daily on a wide range of issues.
Your advice to athletes, especially cricketers, to stay in touch with the game and remain in the best of shape?
It’s very important for sportspersons to ensure that they don’t gain weight. If this scare is vanishing in two months, then they need to be on top of their fitness. To make sure of that, they need to train at least 15 minutes to half-an-hour everyday. Upper-body exercises on one day, lower body on the next, and core workouts every other day. They need to train at least four days a week. If you have treadmill, run. If you don’t, do skipping and jumping exercises. There are so many exercises that can be done at home. They can find them online. Athletes can follow that to ensure strength in their bodies.
Also, they need to be hopeful and stay positive that this will pass. You have to believe in that. Yes, we haven’t seen nothing like whatever is happening right now. But as humans, we have to believe and hope for best, which will keep us going in the future. Also, we need to seek out the positives: spending time with parents, kids and family. We need to try and introspect. May be, you have started valuing small things more now. There will always be positives.
Should events like IPL and T20 World Cup happen at the moment?
It is very important that all governments take proper measures. Sporting activities should obviously be postponed. Nothing is bigger than life. Like the postponement of IPL, everyone should consider the situation every month. Be it ICC or any national board, all organisations need to see the situation in Australia (for the T20 World Cup) every three, four weeks and then take a decision. If something has to be deferred or cancelled, so be it. You cannot do anything because you need to save lives, which should be the most important thing on everybody’s mind at the moment.
What does the future hold for MS Dhoni?
He obviously needs to play. If he does, he should for India. He is the most amazing cricketer we have. He has been fantastic for the country. He has given so much to the world of cricket. But if he is just drafted in, will it be fair for those who have been playing regularly is an important question. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant have been playing consistently for a year. So, this question needs to be answered by the board.
Do you feel that more sports facilities should be converted into medical centres?
We have so many grounds in Baroda. All of our cities have so many open spaces, which can all be turned into open hospitals or isolation wards. If the need arises, it can be worked out that way. We play sports to become a better human. I think this is one way to show people that sports can help people.
What other things can sports bodies do to help the government?
The most important thing is that we do our bit. Not only cricket associations, every human being who is capable of doing something for others should do it. Be it in a visible way or invisible, they should do it. I believe in that. Show a little bit that you are doing charity, so that it becomes a trend and people follow. Hide the many more good deeds that you do. This a time when we as human beings can do a lot for those in need.
What have you and Yusuf been up to during the lockdown?
Bhai and I make videos every other day to educate people. We spend time with our kids. We have four at home, as well as our parents. We look after them, and talk about life, the past and the future. There are so many things to do. If you genuinely try to spend time with family, then you will enjoy it. Nothing lasts forever. Before this pandemic, we thought we were invincible.
That changed. Nothing is permanent. Whatever time you have, enjoy it. Government has to put in place strict rules. It is every citizen’s responsibility to be a part of this... Looking after yourself, not going out, and not indulging in social gatherings. This will help you and your fellow Indians. You need to make sure that you look after yourself and your countrymen.
Your advice to people in general?
It is very important that we look after the elderly. If they don’t have someone to look after them, we have to reach out and help them in whatever way we can. My small advice to people is to do at least one constructive thing everyday; something that betters your persona. Do it at home. Social media offers so many avenues. So use the time that you have, and also the time in which you are forced to be at home. Nothing lasts forever. Neither will this. We might look back and regret not using the time that we have now. So use it wisely.