'When this is over, I hope we realise how little we need and how much we actually have'
Javeria Khan on life in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic: noisy training, spring-cleaning, and lots of handwashing
This time in Downtime Diaries, Pakistan batter Javeria Khan talks about life in seclusion in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic
We left for Pakistan on March 4, a day after our last league-stage match in the T20 World Cup in Sydney. I have been home since.
Two or three days after we returned to Pakistan, there was news of a spike in infections across Australia and globally. I was a bit relieved that the World Cup was over before the lockdowns began because the final was a big event for women's cricket.
I've been using this break to do rehab on a few niggles I carried through the World Cup. I'm doing more shadow batting and hanging-ball batting drills to keep my body and mind in sync. My trainer sends me videos regularly with inputs on my rehab and fitness plans.
During my 14-day self-isolation period after I returned from Australia, the habit of washing hands multiple times got so deeply ingrained, it is now almost a reflex.
I think I've become a sort of nuisance to my family. I live on the top floor of our house, so every day when I train, those who are below me need to put up with a lot of thumping noises. They've started wishing for the lockdown to be over so I can train outside!
There have been some positives. I've been able to do some spring-cleaning. Two or three suitcases full of clothes that had been gathering dust for months - I'm opening them one by one now, so that the clothes I barely use can be given away to those in need. I've also been finding photos from my college days, and souvenirs, cricket equipment and jerseys from my early days in international cricket.
I have been able to reconnect with many friends from school during this period. I had not spoken to some of them in ages because of the demands playing cricket and travelling make on my schedule.
I've been able to spend quality time with my family, and also been reading the holy book - my mother helps me understand lessons from it. Overall, I've been appreciating things that you aren't able to in the hustle of an active professional career.
I'm watching a lot of sports-centred stuff on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I'm enjoying The Test, the docu-series on the Australia men's cricket team. I can recommend it to all cricket fans. The failures and disappointments of these players seem relatable at a very human level. Justin Langer's role in rebuilding the team after the ball-tampering episode was particularly fascinating to me. I rely on Twitter, not TV, for news. I find the latter aggravates fears. I use WhatsApp and Snap for messaging, and I've taken to watching TikTok lately. I've never thought of doing a TikTok video myself, but if I ever did, I'd perhaps have my Pakistan team-mate Diana Baig, who is on TikTok a lot, mime along to song I'd sing - maybe the "Corona, Corona" song (a parody of a Bollywood hit) that's all over on TikTok.
If I had to watch one cricket match on TV, it would definitely be one of Pakistan's games from the 1992 men's World Cup. I haven't seen anything from that tournament ever, and our team won the title, so I'd love to see that.
I think women's cricket might be hurt more by this outbreak than the men's game because across formats in domestic and international cricket, we play fewer games than the men. After the T20 World Cup many new fans around the world will have wanted to watch more women's cricket, but now they can't.
For me this situation has reinforced that no matter what we propose, it is God who disposes. We have been caught up in our bubbles for so long, unmindful of our responsibilities towards each other, the environment and the poor, and now we have been put in our place. A mirror has been held up to us as individuals and as a society.
When normalcy returns, I hope we realise how little we need and how much we actually have. If I get to walk out on a cricket field again, inshallah, I hope I enjoy the game for the love of it instead of worrying about performance. Cricket, for many of us players now is a lot about stress. We're now seeing what real stress is, as people fight for their lives all over the world.
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Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo