Pakistani-born, Zimbabwean internationally ranked cricketer Sikanda r Razar Butt hosted a series of Instagram Lives featuring Zimbabwe’s leading athletes under the theme 15 QWR (15 Questions With Razar) to connect them with their fans in the lockdown period
Sikandar Razar interviewed 24-year-old professional racing driver Axci l Jeffries who was recently competing in the prestigious Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship. He won 7 championships and he competed in the GP2 Series for the Trident team as number 22. The other athlete interviewed was Fara i Mudarika, rugby union player who plays for the Worcester Warriors in the United Kingdom. Farai won 9 test caps for Zimbabwe. Sikandar also interviewed Zimbabwean international tennis player Benjami n Lock who’s a member of the Zimbabwe Davis Cup team and professional golfer, Sheldo n Steyn who represented Zimbabwe at the Sunshine Tour Golf.
Asked what his objective was, the Zimbabwean all-rounder, Sikandar said he wanted to bring other sportsmen closer to one another and bring their fan base closer to other athletes and sports. “It’s a blast being supported and supporting other sportsmen. I found the experience really great and I achieved what I wanted, which was to bring athletes from different sports closer to one another” Sikandar said.
Sikandar Razar is under KOSH A management, a digital cultural brand marketing firm, and the founder and senior consultant Tannia Ngwena said, “Since no one is invulnerable to COVID -19 impacts, Zimbabwean talents and creatives have to realise that for the immediate future, our usual way of life must adjust to unparalleled circumstances. The adaptable and creative will emerge from Covid-19 lockdown and still have their spotlight.”
As a result of COVID 19, athletes and fans can’t travel across the world to watch each other perform or show support physically. But that hasn’t stopped Zimbabwean sportsmen to keep on showing each other revolutionary support. Currently third on the list of best all round performers since the 2015 ODI World Cup, we see Razar taking this initiative to keep athletes connected. It is quite inspiring to know that athletes are out there supporting each other and building pretty solid foundations and relationships with each other. They are coming out and supporting each other regardless of the sport.
When fellow athletes support each other it also ushers in a sense of community into the sports industry. Supporting each other has been a huge part of the athletics culture worldwide.
Due to coronavirus pandemic, sporting events in the world and leagues have been either postponed or suspended, training facilities have been closed and professional athletes are finding it difficult to cope. Whether they are on the pitch or field or not, athletes find themselves under constant pressure for them to maintain the buzz under the spotlight. Just like those in the music industry, there is ongoing stress for the elite athletes to face mental health challenges which may not necessarily be visible to their fans and followers under these lockdown periods. To remain calm under pressure and to keep their focus, no matter the distraction, sportsmen like Sikandar Razar realised they need to stay connected as athletes and their audience through fully embracing and utilising channels like Instagram lives. Asked how he was coping with all the inconveniences, Sikandar said, “It has been tough as a sportsman and as a human as well. So many people have lost their lives and that’s really sad and as a sports person we lost out on a couple of tours and 5 months without any cricket”
When elite sporting role models like Sikandar Razar encourage sportsmanship this also encourages people in society to act in similar ways to the athletes that they look up to and keep on supporting them.
Sikandar Razar plays all formats primarily as a batsman and he has become a force to be reckoned with in his field. With 149 matches, 4 266 runs and 103 wickets, he can’t be ignored as one of the best around.