January 19, 2013

Aftab Ahmed is one of us

Andrew Hughes
Aftab Ahmed gets a few pointers from Jamie Siddons, Dhaka, March 1, 2010
"I know the coach is talking about getting my eye in, but all I can think of is closing them and lying on a hammock"  © Associated Press
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I don't know about you, but I find it hard to warm to professional cricketers these days. It might be that we pay them too much - as the old saying goes: 'You pay golden peanuts, you get monkeys with expensive watches', or it could be their tweeting. When Mr Twitter announced to his pet parrot one morning that he'd just dreamt about a fantastic new way for the citizens of the world express themselves, I'm sure he never imagined it would end up being used by professional cricketers to tell us they'd just had their dinner.

Personally, I think we should look to the Romans for guidance on how to treat our popular athletes. Like cricketers, gladiators performed in arenas full of baying crowds, had short careers (in some cases, extremely short) and were fond of a tattoo. But the Romans didn't pay them, did not allow them to write autobiographies, and would have taken a dim view of any gladiator who wanted time off to fight in the Parthian Premier League.

Yet just when you think the modern cricketer is beyond redemption, you read a quote like this from Chittagong batsman and last decade's next big Bangladeshi thing, Aftab Ahmed:

"Laziness has got the better of me. Even though I try very hard to overcome laziness I have a tough time succeeding. This is the truth, no point lying."

Finally, a cricketer you can relate to. It is often assumed by members of the 1% that those of us in the 99% don't reach the top of our chosen profession because we lack the talent. This is not true. It isn't that we couldn't do it. It's just that we can't be bothered.

When you've spent your day gazing at boring spreadsheets, attending dreary meetings at which dull people talk to you about boring spreadsheets, and hoping someone else will answer that damn phone, do you want to spend your evening reading through the fine print of that new stationery ordering software with the silly acronym, and memorising this quarter's 17-point mission statement? Or do you want to eat crisps and watch TV?

A modern cricketer spends most of his day running, catching, throwing, stretching, sweating and bragging about how much his bat weighs. And he does it for 20 years or more. All that striving, sacrificing and forcing down endless plates of pasta must do strange things to an individual. So the process of becoming a successful cricketer inevitably filters out normal people who've got better ways to spend their spare time.

To make a career out of something you enjoy is a sure route to contentment. But only a masochist would enjoy the exhausting and monotonous lifestyle of the modern cricketer. Aftab clambered his way to the top of the mountain, but when he got there, he didn't find a lost valley of beauty and enchantment, just a range of ever bigger, uglier mountains stretching forever into the distance. So he came back down again. He isn't lazy. He's a well-balanced human being. And I'd like to read his autobiography.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TalentBasher on (January 31, 2013, 1:06 GMT)

Great article. I cant wait to see one from you on the "God gifted talent" of Rohit Sharma.

Posted by Ferdous on (January 20, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

yes he is a very good & Talented cricketer. but only his lazy issue he could no prove himself.

Posted by Nasir, a Bangladeshi National on (January 20, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

To be succeeded in any task, there is no such place like laziness. Reading the comments what Aftab Ahmed did, i am feeling dreary and hopeless. He was one of promising cricketer of our modern Bangladesh Cricket and i have read an interview of our former National coach Dev Whatmore. Aftab Ahmed is one of his favourite listed cricketer. I am not connoisseur of cricket but i have always an eye on him to see him making a cracking hook shot to unleash ball over the rope. But alas! Lazinees has sidelined him. I am sorry but he is not a well-balanced human being who acknowledges his own weakness this way in an website like espncricinfo.

Posted by Humayun Kabir on (January 20, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

He certainly was another big hope for Bangladesh and lost his way after reaching on top for awhile. Amazingly, Aftab still has a big fan base here in Chittagong as well.

Posted by diwakar on (January 20, 2013, 0:29 GMT)

Great post Man.

Posted by Anonymous on (January 20, 2013, 0:27 GMT)

great post.

Posted by Saif on (January 19, 2013, 19:53 GMT)

EXCELLENT!!!!! I'd like to read it too!

Posted by Tanvir on (January 19, 2013, 19:18 GMT)

Very good article about life and an talented cricketer. Aftab is truly a hard worker. Never lose before lose.

Posted by shakil on (January 19, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

Fully agree with you sir

Posted by Aditya on (January 19, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

Hehe. Nice.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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