This time last year Framboise interviewed a promising youngster,
Pakistan's Shahid Zaman ... since then he's moved into the top 20,
become Pakistan #1 and last week claimed victory in the $25k Pakistan
circuit #2 in Lahore ...
| from May 2004
famous former British Open champion Qamar Zaman.
In 2000, he is ranked 126
in the world. In 2002, 24.
Then he slips down to 43.
He is now back to 35.
Ups and downs.
In and out.
And a comeback.
At 22 years old.
Remember the name
Shahid Zaman though.
The onlooking Jahangir said, "this boy is fast -
he's destined to go far - and quickly!"
His uncle Qamar would be proud.
Qatar Classic 2001
One of the fast-rising band of Pakistani squash players,
Shahid Zaman is
Framboise talks to Shahid himself,
his coach, manager and
From Pakistan to England ...
This building is the Balochistan's provincial assembly hall,
background the mountain called in local language
"Char shakh " meaning "four
How many brothers and
I have four brothers and two sisters.
Are they still in Pakistan?
Yes, except for my younger brother, who lives in London, and who I
see quite often.
Do you live with your brother?
No, I live with Uncle [meaning somebody older than you are, usually
from your family, whom you love and respect, in this case Mo Yasin,
When did you meet Shahid?
I first met him at the Junior British Open in January 1997. He was 15 and
played in the U/16. He arrived on his own. He had been picked up at
Heathrow airport by a complete stranger, driven to Sheffield and just left
to get on with things.
And your mothers instinct took over, didnt it?
I guess Im the mother figure, yes! I was on duty at Hallamshire Squash
Club and did what any person would do and that is take an interest and
look after him! He got to the final and unfortunately lost mainly due to
the fact it was all new to him and I believe he was overawed by the
When did you start to
really know the boy?
He travelled over again the year after this and he played at Abbeydale in
the U/19 aged 17. This was last time he played the British Open Junior. At
the end of the tournament he asked me to help him. He wanted to phone his
Uncle. I looked at the number and instantly recognised it as Bader Zaman.
This man coached my two daughters at Prestbury SC a few years previous. I
obviously took to Shahid and the relationship developed more as he stayed
with Bader, for a couple of months, close to my home.
We then met at Mens World Team Events in Cairo and Melbourne.
Shahid had a few
bad months, didnt he?
He did try to settle in this country in 2000 but for various reasons,
things did not work out. Any junior has their work cut out trying to make
the leap into the senior scene, never mind trying to do it in foreign
In your opinion, what were
the reasons of his failure?
Firstly....he is naive young man and did not realise the commitment it
takes to make it work in this or any country. He was very young and got
very homesick. With no financial backing, no base club to work from and
not having the opportunity to practise with his peers, it all adds up to
So, has the situation
I spoke to Air Marshall Rashid Caleem in Vienna and he was aware of
Shahid's problems in the past. He assured me that the Federation would do
everything in their power to help Shahid. Shahid is now in England,
training at present under the watchful eye of Mo Yasin. We managed to sign
him for Manchester Northern (Lawn Tennis and Squash Club) in Manchester and he
played for them in the North West Counties Squash League. It was difficult
to sign for a National League team but Nottingham Squash Club signed him,
albeit he never managed to turn out for them
So, what is next
for him now?
He has been back to Pakistan for trials and finished top. This obviously
pleased all of us as we do not expect results just yet.
We obviously wish him to continue playing in North West Counties and
hopefully play in the National League next season. Due to NSL regulations
with Shahid's PSA present ranking of 35 he is an asset.
He has to gain experience and play in as many PSA tournaments as possible.
I should also mention that Paul Walters like me sees possibilities in this
young man and has offered to help him.
Where do you see that
young man going?
I believed at one point Shahid had the making of a top 5 player....
He had confidence, a wide variety of shots, and quickness around the
He has to make it work this time and fortunately appears to be on the
He has slipped a lot....will he make it
I hope so.
The first time you arrived
in England, what was
most difficult for you?
Well, I didnt speak a word of English when I arrived in 1997! I met Linda
Davie in Sheffield. I was very young then, just 15, and I was competing in
the under 16 competition.
As I came from Pakistan all by myself,
communicating was very difficult for me. Linda helped me a lot, she seemed
to understand everything I said! But that language problem didnt prevent
me from arriving in the final!
What was your first
impression of England?
I arrived on New Years Eve, and it was beautiful everywhere, but what
really amazed me, was the television programs!
Now that your English has improved
tremendously, do you find life in England difficult?
Not at all! In Pakistan, I come from Quetta, in the North of Pakistan. We
have a lot of mountains, a lot of snow, its very very cold in winter. So
I quite enjoy English weather.
What? Where did you live, in the North Pole?... Seriously, apart from
the weather, do you find it difficult to live over here?
When I came here the first time, yes, it was difficult to adapt, but now,
Ive been coming to England 20, 30 times, so, Im fine now. And you know,
I came here to train, I came here to become a good player, and thats all
I see at the moment. The rest doesnt matter.
how do you survive?
I have some income from PSA tournaments, when I get good results, like
when I arrive in the final of the
COAS International in Islamabad,
Pakistan, only to lose to Adrian Grant in 5 set, 15/12 in the 5th, and
from the National League (I play for Manchester Northern in the North West
Im staying with Uncle (Mo Yasin), who is a very generous man, and doesnt
ask me for any money in return.
I was told that you had put
on a lot of weight on a 2 year period. Is there a reason for that?
Yes, basically, I was having a bad time back in Pakistan with personal
problems, I was very depressed, very stressed, so I decided to get away
from there and come here to try and regain my world ranking.
I saw you back a few weeks ago, and it seems that already, you have
lost quite a lot of weight
I have, I have, its because Ive been training hard.
Mo is killing you, isnt he?
[Shahid and Mo Yasin laugh]
You see, one day, I want to be number one,
inch Allah [God Willing], so if I train hard, if I work hard and inch
Allah I will. So that is why Im here.
What is your ambition
for the next year?
I want to be in the top 5.
And by the time you are 25,
in 4 years, where do you
I hope I will be married by then! My mother and father told me that, if I
like someone, Ill have to introduce her to them, whether she lives here
or in Pakistan, and that they would talk it over. But at the moment, my
career comes first!
Shahid, are you happy now?
Yes, Im happy, I feel very free. Im very happy!
Shahid was runner-up in the
in February 2004
And was Champion of the
Pakistan Circuit #1
in Lahore, on May 9th.
Former world number 2, famous for being
the man who prevented Jonah Barrington's bid to equal Hashim's record of
seven successive British Opens in an aggravating quarter final in 1973. He
later coached Qamar Zaman and Jansher Khan. He is now coaching and looking
What training schedule have you prepared for Shahid?
He already has the good length, the good strokes, so we are working on his
fitness and Im concentrating mainly on his stamina / speed / stretching.
He is training on court, an hour per day minimum, three to four times a
week then he goes to the gym and runs outdoor as well.
In your opinion, what is going to be Shahids game, Shahids style?
Shahid presents the same qualities Jahangir had, his style is very close
to the legendary player. I think we need to encourage that, and its
absolutely vital that Shahid be 100% fit to become world champion.
How different was your coaching with Jansher?
It was totally different. Jansher was very fit to start with, and he
needed to work on his strokes. He used to lob the ball very slow, but he
didnt have the shots, the strokes, the drop shots. Basically, he didnt
have the technique. Shahid has got the technique, he need the fitness.
Do you travel with him?
No, at the moment Im not. But I hope I will in the very near future. That
way, I will be able to take notes, to see where he is weak, where he is
making the mistakes. I would like also to be able to video his matches,
and working with him to study precisely what he does wrong, and what he
should do. It should make things easier for him.
What is Shahids potential?
He has got all the ingredients needed in squash, but not everything is in
the right order! So now, he has got to play a lot of matches, a lot of
tournaments. He must apply the training Im giving him into matches,
because thats what he is lacking at the moment. But inch Allah, he has
the potential to be world number one. But he needs to work hard, very
Shahid had his ups and downs, didnt he?
Yes, for 2 years, back home, he was not happy, he was stressed, had a lot
of problems. But when he came back, he made up his mind. He did come to me
twice before, you know, but he wasnt training properly, on and off, on
and off. He wasnt committed to squash. But this time, when he came, he
asked me Uncle, would you train me? No, I replied, I wont. You let me
down twice before, you went back to Pakistan. He did promise that this
time, he was really committed. So its actually my wife to talked me into
it Go on, give him another chance, she said. So I did. And since then,
he has been good as gold. He also went to Pakistan a few days ago for the
trials, beat all the Pakistanis players, and is now Pakistani player
number one. [Officially, Mansoor Zaman is still number one, but Shahid did
beat him a few times now].
What are your
goals for him?
In a years time, I think he should be in the top 8. In 18months to two
years, I think he could be world champion.
Do you think I should ask for his autograph then?
Wait for another two years!
Since when have you been
taking care of Shahid?
I set my company up in January 2004. The players I represent primarily are
Lee Beachill, James Willstrop, Anthony Ricketts, Peter Barker and Adrian
Grant. A few months ago,
Linda Davie came to me and said that Shahid needed some help. Shahid is
somebody with Dunlop I have been with a long time. I think he deserves a
chance, I think hes got the ability, he just hasnt had the right
direction. So what I said was that I was going to help him, and should his
career develop, I would then take him more under my wing. At the moment,
its more of a flexible arrangement. Once he gets to the top ten players,
I would take him on on a full time basis.
How would you describe your
position vis-à-vis Shahid?
With Lee, James and the other players is that we already have equipment
supply contracts in place, so Lee is with Dunlop, Hi-Tec, E-squash, James
is with Hi-Tec and E-squash etc, so the opportunity there is to look for
sponsors from outside of the sport and to look at promoting them at a
wider scale. With Shahid, its very different because he doesnt have
those basics blocs in place, so the first step is to say, well, lets put
a contract in place, the footwear, the clothing, the rackets, which, if
you develop in the game, will give you the monetary return. Those
contracts are geared to him achieving the top ten rankings. So as soon as
he achieves the top ten rankings, he will then receive bigger contracts
and thats when our management player relationship will be more
What is your next step?
My job now is to try and to raise his profile, so hopefully, in a years
time, when he gets into the top ten, no only is he a good player, but he
also has a higher profile as well.
How do you 'raise a players profile'?
For example, we set up a players website. You see a lot of players
wearing T-shirts with their website on. Also cooperation with people like
What do you think of Shahid from a squash point of view?
He is good. He has put a lot of weight on, and he struggles with the
direction and he is probably being guilty of just listening to too many
people. He doesnt speak good English, he can be easily misguided, and
deep down, I like him. When I set my company up, I always said that Ill
only work with people who Ill like. If that means I dont like the world
number 1 personally, I wont work with him. If it means I like the world
number 40, Ill work with him. I think that to promote someone, it must be
more than just ranking. Fundamentally, Shahid is a nice kid and I would
hate to see him misguided. If I can play a small part in helping to put
the basics together, fantastic.
What are his faults?
I believe that he doesnt have a weapon. All the top players have a weapon. Peter Nicol, its his ability to retrieve; John White, he has got
the shots; Lee Beachill, his ability to change the pace. Shahid has
everything, but he doesnt have a weapon. As soon as he develops that
weapon, and has a belief in that weapon, then, he will be able to
What does Shahid need right now?
He needs the right off court support, day to day he needs someone to train
with, and quality people to play against. He has got to be in that right
environment. All the players need a team around them. What I dont want to
do is over promise to Shahid. We have got to find out if he wants it
enough. If he wants it, hell do the work, hell do the training. His
pedigree, his family, is second to none.
He has got a wonderful touch, he
has got a tremendous amount of talent, he has got everything there. He
just needs to have belief.
from May 2004