Cricket spurs Nafees to beat COVID

Samiur Rahman | Published: 01:10, Jul 02,2020 | Updated: 22:03, Jul 02,2020


A collected photo of former Bangladesh batsman Nafees Iqbal relaxing during a match. — Facebook photo

Former Bangladesh opener Nafees Iqbal took inspiration from his past cricketing heroics in his battle against the deadly coronavirus, which he won on Wednesday.

Nafees, along with his children and mother, was suffering from COVID-19 infection for the past two weeks before finally all of them tested negative for the virus on July 1.

Nafees shared his experience of staying in isolation with New Age and said that in his lone battle he looked for inspiration from his 121-run knock against Zimbabwe in 2005 which ensured the first ever Test series win for Bangladesh.

‘I received many messages wishing me quick recovery but one of them I liked very much which reminded me about my patient hundred against Zimbabwe that ensured our first ever series win,’ Nafees said.

Nafees revealed the struggles he faced while staying secluded from others at his Chattogram residence and said that memories of his near eight-hour long marathon innings against Zimbabwe in Dhaka helped him find the mental strength to battle the virus.

‘For more than two weeks, I was living in the same room. It was very claustrophobic and a horrible experience. My mother was sick, I lost my aunt but I wasn’t able to do anything. That time staying mentally strong was very difficult. But like old times I stuck to the crease.’

Nafees was also in constant touch with two other corona infected cricketers, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Nazmul Islam, and the trio used to share their thoughts.

‘Me and Mashrafe, we exchange texts every day. We are in constant touch. Apu [Nazmul] also joined, Elias Sunny was there too.’

The 34-year old was also overwhelmed by the amount of well wishes and prayers he received from people he didn’t expect to hear anything from.

‘After the news came out, I was showered with well wishes and prayers. I was overwhelmed to see how many people care for me. From my long lost friends to journalists, cricketers, and fans everybody sent their well wishes and prayers which gave me positive energy.’

Nafees’ younger brother and Bangladesh one-day international captain Tamim Iqbal, who had actively helped financially struggling athletes, coaches and others during the government imposed general holiday due to the pandemic, also stepped up in the family crisis.

‘You all know how big hearted he [Tamim] is. Since our complications began, we had some oxygen cylinders, oxy-meters at home as precaution as my mother was facing breathing problems. Hospital authorities were informed so that we could get help in time. He did whatever he can do from Dhaka.’

Other than taking the prescribed medicines Nafees said that he used some home remedies to fight his illness and said that getting through the isolation period was the biggest challenge.

‘The best remedy is inhaling hot steam. I used to take hot vapors four times a day. I gurgled with warm water, had ginger tea etc. But the biggest suffering is isolation; you have to remain mentally strong’.

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