Former Indian cricketer and fielding sensation Mohammad Kaif feels we need to heal from this pandemic first and then restart cricket. He spoke to The Daily Guardian.
Q: How has the lockdown experience been for you?
A: I have been enjoying the time with my family. I was not able to give time to my family since I got married. Now the kids are loving the time I am spending with them. My son is 8 years old and daughter is 3, so they have their parents available 24×7 with them. It has been great for them.
Q: It’s a tough time for all of us. And for sports too. IPL was supposed to happen now. Are you missing that buzz?
A: Yes, we miss it. We want to keep busy and active. No one can control the situation. But no one wants to compromise safety and health. I was playing the road safety legend tournament with Sachin and all my teammates. Suddenly, this pandemic came. You cannot do much. Saving life is first priority. Lockdown is extended and it’s a serious situation. We all want to see IPL and the players. But this is a serious situation. But we need to stay at home. I see my old videos and watch them online. But the situation is unfortunate. Saving lives is priority.
Q: How is technology helping in these times? And what is its role in dealing with the pandemic?
A: Technology is playing a huge role. But now we can still talk to our parents and see them digitally. Smartphones are helping to keep us busy and one feels less depressed. Twenty years ago, this was not possible. Now, thanks to technology we can keep in touch with our loved ones.
Q: For a cricketer, fitness and net practice are important. When the world comes back to normal, cricketers can get rusty.
A: Cricketers must keep fit and active. Training is different. These are tough times. Mind and body training are essential. The players will find it tough to get the rhythm back.
Q: How has India done in tackling Covid-19 cases and the situation?
A: India has done fairly well. I congratulate the people and the Government of India. But the battle is not over. A five-week lockdown has helped a lot. All celebrities, role models, politicians have done well. The corona warriors have done well. We need to break the chain of the virus.
Q: Can we resume the sports soon and with what changes?
A: It’s difficult to predict right now. Things are changing rapidly these days. It’s a deadly virus. Saving lives is the priority. They might change rules and social distancing could come into picture. All sports are contact sports. It will be a tough call for BCCI and ICC. The spectators can be avoided from being called to an event.
Q: Staying home is not common to sportspersons. How is the family seeing this?
A: I can say for my family. They are loving the time that we have. We experience different things. As a cricketer and a human being, we learn to adapt. I am sure that in future things will move on, but we need to take precautions. Technology is helping a lot. People have been doing well to maintain discipline.
Q: How to handle a fitness regimen in these times?
A: You need to find time to keep fit. I work a lot on body fitness. I work at home with the family. Bodyweight training, functional training is going on. Eating habits must be maintained, and under check. You can definitely go for yoga.
Q: Any new skills that you have picked up in cooking?
A: Well, I am not the excellent cook around. I don’t cook much, but help the family. Probably make some coffee, do the dishes. I take care of the physical activity post cooking. Cooking probably is not my cup of tea. I help with sweeping, mopping and keep myself busy. My son is studying about the solar system, so I am learning about that these days.
Q: Are things going to change dramatically in the days to come once the pandemic is over and lockdown is lifted? About everything that we do and would there be a new normal?
A: No, it won’t be the same again. We need to take precautions. Carry face masks. Social distancing is mandatory. It will take time to get back to normal. It might take a bit longer. And we need to learn to adapt to the situation. And India has been a good example of this.
Q: What is your opinion of tweaking Test cricket and the pink ball Test cricket?
A: There should be more Test matches. And there should be more experiments. Best top four teams should play more Test matches. India vs Australia, India vs England and India vs South Africa were good matches, I did not miss a single ball. Players are aggressive now. Bowling is at a different level. Bumrah, Shami, Hardik, Umesh, Ishant are doing very well. Good teams should be playing more.