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MEMOIRS: THE BOOKS NOT YET WRITTEN

December 16, 2018

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Pakistan has produced a great number of sportsmen who have done the country proud on countless occasions. But only a handful of them have managed to summarise their illustrious careers in print — Hanif Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Fazal Mahmood, Islahuddin, Wasim Akram and Mushtaq Mohammad are those who have written their autobiographies. Let’s have a look at some other sportsmen who have

won laurels for Pakistan and need to talk about their playing days. The following is a list of sportsmen with probable titles of their books and the reasons they need to put pen to paper, so to speak ...

SAMIULLAH
Title: The Flying Horse

Accomplishments: Won medals for Pakistan at major events, including the World Cup and the Champions Trophy.

Very few Pakistani sportsmen have penned their autobiographies. The kind of eventful lives that many of them have led need to be compiled into books in order for their fans, especially the younger generation, to learn from them. Eos comes up with a probable list of nine players whose real life stories need to be told

What readers want to know: Hockey fans would love to know how Samiullah went on to become the ‘Flying Horse’, how he felt after winning his first tournament as a player and final one as captain, and what made him quit at the peak of his career. The former captain was at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 as an observer when Pakistan

won the gold medal, the only one that eluded him in his career. He can also describe some of his memorable performances, including matches against archrivals India.

JAHANGIR KHAN
Title: Life of a Champion!

Jahangir Khan with cousin and mentor Rehmat
Jahangir Khan with cousin and mentor Rehmat

Accomplishments: The only sportsman ever to have won 555 consecutive matches, who held the World Open title six times and the British Open a record 10 times, besides many other trophies.

What readers want to know: He wasn’t the fittest player in his family when he was young but went on to become squash’s greatest player, winning more titles than any other player. There was a time when he thought of quitting the game because his elder brother Torsam died of a heart attack in a squash court. Then it was his cousin Rehmat Khan who sacrificed his own career as a player to make a legend out of Jahangir. How was he at school, how did he react after losing his first match after 555 wins, his relationship with his champion father Roshan Khan, his favourite opponent, his emotions when he played against Jansher Khan and his final tournament before quitting the game will make an interesting read for sure.

SHAHBAZ AHMED SENIOR
Title: The Man With The Golden Stick

Accomplishments: The last of the legends produced by Pakistan hockey who led Pakistan to victories in many tournaments, including the World Cup and the Champions Trophy in 1994.

What readers want to know: Shahbaz Ahmed’s rise as a player helped Pakistan reach the final in the 1990 World Cup. But how he felt when skipper Qazi Mohib missed a crucial penalty stroke that cost Pakistan the title is something he hasn’t spoken about. Readers would love to read about Shahbaz’s career where he assisted in more goals than actually scoring them, what were the reasons that made him lead the revolt against the Pakistan Hockey Federation in 1996, besides a captain’s account during the World Cup and Champions Trophy in 1994 which Pakistan won.

SYED HUSSAIN SHAH
Title: My Life, My Rules!

Accomplishments: The first and, so far only Pakistani boxer to win a (bronze) medal at the Olympics.

What readers want to know: From being a homeless kid to a garbage collector, Hussain Shah trained himself by using garbage bags as punching bags. And that’s just one part of his story. How he played his initial matches without shoes and emerged to become the best boxer in Asia is what the readers would like to know about. His Olympic journey, as well as matches against the best boxers of the world, would make an interesting read as would the reasons behind his migration to Japan where he now trains boxers for a living.

WAQAR YOUNIS
Title: The Fast and The Furious

Accomplishments: He was the quickest fast bowler in the world during the 1990s, and was known for his toe-crushing deliveries.

What readers want to know: Known as the Burewala Express, Waqar Younis has never spoken about missing the 1992 World Cup due to injury, and leading Pakistan to an unforgettable mega event 11 years later. What would be better than writing it all down in a book where he can also disclose why he left the game at 32, what went through his mind during the Bangalore quarterfinal in 1996 where he was thrashed by Ajay Jadeja, besides discussing many unbelievable victories he had a hand in! He is now a successful cricket commentator but had two stints as Pakistan’s coach, something he can write openly about in his memoirs.

INZAMAM UL HAQ
Title: Walk Like a Giant!

An emotional Inzamam after announcing his retirement
An emotional Inzamam after announcing his retirement

Accomplishments: One of the greatest batsmen of his era, he was one of the stars of the 1992 World Cup and ended up scoring over 20,000 international runs with 35 centuries and took nearly 200 catches for Pakistan.

What readers want to know: Before he became known as Imam ul Haq’s uncle, Inzamam was a world-class batsman. In his memoirs he can write about many incidents that happened during his career such as winning the World Cup in 1992 and the Ovalgate episode where he refused to take field after the umpire penalised his bowlers. People would like to know how he felt during the disastrous World Cup in 2007 where coach Bob Woolmer lost his life or why he lost his cool after an incident during the Sahara Cup where he beat up a spectator long before the Zidane head butt! His innings with the ‘rebel’ Indian Cricket League, as Afghanistan’s coach and Pakistan chief selector hasn’t been controversy-free either and he can clear the air about them.

 SHAHID AFRIDI
Title: Boom Boom — Uncensored

Accomplishments: Fastest ODI century record, World T20 2009 and countless matches where he single-handedly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

What readers want to know: He may have won many matches for his team but Shahid Afridi embarrassed a lot of his countrymen by chewing the ball during an ODI match. The same people would like to know why he doctored the pitch during a Test match against England, why he quit Test cricket ahead of the spot-fixing saga in 2010 and what was his reaction on being labeled as ‘Boom Boom’ during the World T20 in 2009. From hitting careless shots in matches to fighting colleagues, Shahid Afridi has come a long way and this book might clear many things about him if it is written.

YOUNIS KHAN
Title: Against All Odds

Younis Khan with Bob Woolmer
Younis Khan with Bob Woolmer

Accomplishments: Captain of the World T20 winning side, the highest run-getter for Pakistan in Tests, over 40 International centuries and 250 catches for Pakistan and the best fourth innings batsman in the world.

What readers want to know: Younis Khan is one of those players on whose career a film can be made. He was an outsider when he entered cricket, had a dream debut, scored a triple ton and then went on to score 34 Test centuries for Pakistan, winning the World T20 as captain and then resigning when he found out that the players were revolting against him. His fans would like to know his secret behind staying fit and how he felt on breaking Javed Miandad’s record and then crossing the 10,000-run barrier, and how close he was to Bob Woolmer whom he termed as the best thing to happen to him.

MISBAH UL HAQ
Title: And Then There Was Misbah!

Accomplishments: Led Pakistan to the number one position in Tests, joint fastest Test century holder at a time and the most runs scored in ODIs without a century.

What readers want to know: Pak­istan’s cricket history will be incomplete without a mention of Misbah ul Haq who remains the captain with most wins in Test cricket. Why he started the game after his MBA, how he felt on being left out during Inzamam ul Haq’s tenure and what made him stay focused despite being dropped for the disastrous 2010 tour of England; that’s what fans of the most successful Pakistan and PSL captain want him to share. The Asia Cup win, the push-ups tribute, as well as the many Test wins under his era will make a brilliant read, if it is ever written.g

The writer tweets @omair78

Published in Dawn, EOS, December 16th, 2018