January 19, 2013

Aftab Ahmed is one of us

He's not going to bore you with descriptions of what he bench-pressed or how much he ran today
20

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • diwakar on January 20, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Great post Man.

  • Anonymous on January 20, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    great post.

  • Saif on January 19, 2013, 19:53 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • shakil on January 19, 2013, 18:48 GMT

    Fully agree with you sir

  • Aditya on January 19, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Hehe. Nice.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • diwakar on January 20, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Great post Man.

  • Anonymous on January 20, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    great post.

  • Saif on January 19, 2013, 19:53 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • shakil on January 19, 2013, 18:48 GMT

    Fully agree with you sir

  • Aditya on January 19, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Hehe. Nice.

  • Bangu on January 19, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    He was one of my favourite too, but when he joined ICL and didn't want to play for Bangladesh national team, he lost my respect. I thing national duty should come first & then something else. Anyway he is a real talented player but if you don't work hard to improve your skills it will not help you just being a talented cricketer. This day’s cricket is a tough game. Hope all the young players will learnt from his mistake, and from me to aftab, it’s not too late yet, work hard mate. Everyone around you is working hard & there is no short cut for success.

  • vidharth on January 19, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    superb piece

  • Paul Philip on January 19, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Amazingly well written piece with a touch of honesty to it!

  • Neville G on January 19, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    Well expressed. This daily continuation of over training would soon get v. Boring. Le' ts let our hair down and go on the razzed for 3 days aftershave a big game nd to hell word the head aches!

  • Abdul R. Siddiqui on January 19, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Very well written, Andy. In an age when athletes increasingly resemble celebrities (and those that don't, try to), it's always nice to see a professional cricketer show some humanity.

  • RM on January 19, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    hahaha, very good read Andrew, i know Aftab and spent my hours trying to encourage him to make better use of his inherited talent. A great little man, and you have summed him up quite well. Rest assured his autobiography would be short, unfortunately much like his International career, which could have been so much more, but as you said the requirements do eliminate some.

  • ontor on January 19, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    aftab ahmed is a very talented player.. he is good enough 4 playing t20.. bst of luck bro...:)

  • KV on January 19, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    This is one of the best articles I have read in a long time!!

  • surya adi on January 19, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    Andrew Hughes, you beauty!

  • Zeeshan Mahmud on January 19, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Great piece! If anything, I'd like to read the biography written by you!

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  • Zeeshan Mahmud on January 19, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Great piece! If anything, I'd like to read the biography written by you!

  • surya adi on January 19, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    Andrew Hughes, you beauty!

  • KV on January 19, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    This is one of the best articles I have read in a long time!!

  • ontor on January 19, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    aftab ahmed is a very talented player.. he is good enough 4 playing t20.. bst of luck bro...:)

  • RM on January 19, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    hahaha, very good read Andrew, i know Aftab and spent my hours trying to encourage him to make better use of his inherited talent. A great little man, and you have summed him up quite well. Rest assured his autobiography would be short, unfortunately much like his International career, which could have been so much more, but as you said the requirements do eliminate some.

  • Abdul R. Siddiqui on January 19, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Very well written, Andy. In an age when athletes increasingly resemble celebrities (and those that don't, try to), it's always nice to see a professional cricketer show some humanity.

  • Neville G on January 19, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    Well expressed. This daily continuation of over training would soon get v. Boring. Le' ts let our hair down and go on the razzed for 3 days aftershave a big game nd to hell word the head aches!

  • Paul Philip on January 19, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Amazingly well written piece with a touch of honesty to it!

  • vidharth on January 19, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    superb piece

  • Bangu on January 19, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    He was one of my favourite too, but when he joined ICL and didn't want to play for Bangladesh national team, he lost my respect. I thing national duty should come first & then something else. Anyway he is a real talented player but if you don't work hard to improve your skills it will not help you just being a talented cricketer. This day’s cricket is a tough game. Hope all the young players will learnt from his mistake, and from me to aftab, it’s not too late yet, work hard mate. Everyone around you is working hard & there is no short cut for success.