God’s gift alone will not put us on the map again

Published: June 18, 2012
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There is no lack of talent when it comes to Pakistani squash players but in order to rule the world, they need much more than God’s gift. PHOTO: AFP

No matter how good you are, there’s always room for improvement.

Natural talent can take the individual only so far and to achieve greatness – to stand out in the crowd – a lot more dedication and hard work is required.

It takes hours of practice to perfect one shot and even that can’t be enough when you’re under pressure in a crunch match. This is where intense training and having an optimum fitness level come in. They give a player the confidence he or she needs to feel superior to his opponents. That, in itself, can easily win half the battle.

There is no lack of talent when it comes to Pakistani squash players but in order to rule the world, they need much more than God’s gift. I can safely say that our current players are better than the Egyptians. They have better skills and a superior game. What they lack, however, is the earnestness with the physical training and their fitness levels.

In my playing years, I used to train six hours a day. Four of those six involved nothing but physical training. But in today’s world, these players hold themselves back from the physical aspect of training. They have the facilities and a proper diet-plan but they don’t want to spend time working on and improving their fitness levels. You need to exert yourself to the fullest and use the last remaining ounce of energy in your body before you end your training for the day. That, unfortunately, is something that is lacking in our players.

This is one of the biggest reasons behind Pakistan’s decline in the world of squash and its inability to produce world beaters. A country, which had several world champions, has slipped in the world rankings and is not a force to reckon with anymore. Pakistan did win the Asian Team Championship, beating India in the final, but the level of consistency you expect from top teams can only come through improved, and maintained, fitness levels.

When it comes to Pakistan’s future, Farhan Mehboob and Waqar Mehboob are the ones the authorities need to look at. They are very talented, with exceptional skills but they lack the fitness levels required at the international level. There’s no reason for these players to not give enough time to their physical training. The federation has been motivating them and has done everything that needs to be done. It’s up to the players to ensure they payback the federation, and the nation, in terms of results and trophies.

I’ve seen these players and followed their game for a month. They have guidance in the form of several former world champions. Not a single country’s players has that kind of privilege. Despite all that they have at their disposal, they lack motivation to train harder and seek the results we all know they are capable of.

Their heart and soul needs to be put into this and if that happens, I can see our players conquer the world again.

Jansher.Khan

Jansher Khan

A former squash world number one and won the World Open a record eight times

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