Former Team India captain Mohammad Azharuddin spoke to The Daily Guardian on battling coronavirus and if the pandemic will change the nature of sports.
Q: How has lockdown been for you?
A: We have to help ourselves and each other. Humanity comes into play at this time.
Q: How are you still so fit?
A: Health is of prime importance. That’s why there is a lockdown now. Fitness is a lifelong activity. The body requires exercise; it behaves the way you want it to. It depends on the kind of way you want to run your body.
Q: What are your thoughts on the efficiency of the lockdown that is being observed throughout India?
A: India has done well. We implemented lockdown in time. If we do well as citizens and follow the guidelines led down by the government, I believe we will get through. The vaccine has not come yet, and we need to take these precautions as of now. In older times, our elders would always say “jeete raho”, because health is very important. If we are healthy we can serve humanity.
Q: We lost two eminent Bollywood personalities this week, Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor. How do you feel about the news of their demise?
A: Both were the pivotal figures in the history of Indian cinema. I knew both of them quite well. Irrfan came in my support during my first rally in Moradabad as MP. Very sad they are not with us anymore. When we were in Mumbai, Rishiji used to come to the same gym and we used to interact with each other. He was fond of my son Abbas. May almighty bless them.
Q: How difficult is this a time for people in power and position?
A: The most important thing is to work in tandem. Nobody should have an ego problem. Our sole and common cause right now is to defeat the virus. The more we can help the country in defeating the virus, the better.
Q: What’s your message to sports fans not being able to watch matches?
A: Depends on how you spend time. Varies from different individuals. Fitness people should take up.
Q: Fitness on the field will be missed. Is that a problem when sportsmen are back in action?
A: No matter how talented the player is, you can do all the fitness you want at home but nothing matches up to match practices. Need expert advice on whether or not matches can be played in months to come.
Q: Can we expect some sort of resumption in cricketing/sporting activity?
A: At the end of the day, testing of only players won’t matter, interaction with people at the hotel needs to be taken into profound consideration. When the plan is put into action, that is when you realize how efficacious it is.
Q: What kind of systematic initiation should cricketing go through if it is to be resumed?
A: Difficult to say anything right now. We need expert advice. We can’t start the game if the problem persists. We need to be 100% sure before kicking off anything.
Q: What’s your advice to sportsmen who are frustrated because they are right now not being able to play?
A: Nobody can help the situation right now; we need to train our mind to understand that. It’s a good time to recover from injuries. Stay positive, assess the situation, and then move forward. Moreover, this is not the problem faced by cricketers alone, entire humanity is on the guards.
Q: Any new skills you’ve picked up…
A: A lot of things are on my plate. I have injuries, so I am avoiding them, for now, I’m doing weight training. Trying different types of fitness.
Q: How did you manage to keep sixpack abs even?
A: If you want to achieve something, you have to go for it. Have a strict exercise and diet regime. I have been happy and fortunate that I have access to things and thankful for health and happiness. Hard work is the key.
Q: How will Covid-9 change the way we function?
A: Unless the vaccine comes out, there’s going to be the maintenance of social distancing, washing hands, etc. In offices, changes will have to be made concerning social distancing.
Q: Will this harm the sports industry’s future?
A: Contact sports will be dicey with regard to social distancing. For example, tennis won’t have that problem, tennis players play a couple of feet apart.
Q. Any message to your fans?
A: People need to be patient. And people need to realize that life and health are more important.