Babar Azam’s U-16 coach sells fruits to survive under COVID-19

Sohail Imran
Babar Azam's U-16 coach Rana Sadiq.

Rana Sadiq, a club-level cricket coach in Lahore who is credited for training names such as Pakistan’s limited-overs captain Babar Azam, has become a fruit seller in order to mitigate the financial impact caused by suspension of sports activities due to COVID-19.

Sadiq was serving as a coach at two registered clubs - Ghulam Qadir Club & Zafar Memorial Cricket Club at Karsan Ground – when the lockdown began. Subsequently, he, along with his colleagues, was furloughed by their clubs, forcing him to look elsewhere to make his living.

"I had been working as a cricket coach for the last 15 years. I love the grass and the ground and it's a pleasure to see the young ones playing the game," Sadiq told Geo News.

Babar Azam's U-16 coach Rana Sadiq.

"I worked as a coach with a district U-19 team and a senior district grade 2 management. I've taught game skills to Babar Azam at U-16 level, and he is now captaining Pakistan in limited overs. All-rounder Hussain Talat and Agha Salman are amongst my students too.

"In these unprecedented times, all the cricket activities are at a halt and there is nothing going on the grounds. But i have to run my kitchen and fulfill my kids needs so I opted to be a fruit vendor rather than a cricket coach who is just sitting at home and waiting for the pandemic to end."

Babar Azam was Rana Sadiq's pupil at U-16 level.

Sadiq said that the local cricket community was still reeling from Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to shut departmental cricket last year when the pandemic crisis doubled their misery.

"The closure of departmental cricket had already made professionals unemployed and now this COVID-19 is costing us our living,” he said.

“I would ask the government to ease the lockdown so that we can restart our professional activities and earn the money with honour".

Babar Azam’s U-16 coach sells fruits to survive under COVID-19