Squash

 

Squash is a racquet sport played on an enclosed four-walled court. The ball can be bounced off any wall within the marked lines; every shot must come off the front wall before hitting the ground. The object of the game is to win points by ensuring that your opponent is unable to return your shot before the ball bounces twice.

It is normally played by two players, although doubles squash is becoming increasingly popular.

 History

Squash, or squash racquets as it was known in its early days, was invented at Harrow School, England, around 1830. The first purpose-built squash courts were built at Harrow in the 1860s.

The game remained the preserve of schools and universities until the early part of the 20th century. The United States became the first nation to form a dedicated association and codify its game in 1907.

In the same year, the (British) Tennis & Rackets Association formed a squash rackets sub-committee and, in 1928, the (British) Squash Rackets Association took over.

Only when commercial operators began building public courts from the 1950s did the game start to boom in popularity, with participation peaking around the early 1980s.

Until then, the game was divided between amateur players and professional players, who were often coaches employed by exclusive clubs.

Today, squash is played in 153 countries, of which 124 are members of the World Squash Federation, with 50,000 courts now worldwide. Squash made its debut at the 13th Asian Games in Bangkok 1998.

It is also played in the World Games, All Africa Games, Pan-American Games and Commonwealth Games.

 Rules

Squash is played by two players on an enclosed court with a floor area of 9.75m by 6.4m.

Players strike the ball alternately on to the front wall, which is 4.75m high and has an out-of-bounds board measuring 480mm across the bottom.

A match is the best of five games, with points scored only by the server (traditional scoring system). When the server wins a rally, he or she scores a point; when the receiver wins a rally, he or she becomes the server.

To start a match, the server stands in either of the two service boxes and hits the ball off the front wall. The ball must hit the front wall between the service line and the out of court line; it must then rebound and land in the back opposite quarter of the court.

Once the ball is 'in play', the rally continues, providing the ball hits the front wall above the 'tin' and below the out of court line. If the receiver wins a rally, he or she takes over service and the opportunity to score.

A match is usually the best of five games and the player who reaches nine points first with a margin of two points wins the game.

If both players are at eight points, the receiver can choose to set the game to eight or nine points; a two-point winning margin is not necessary.

 Squash in Pakistan

History

The only individual sport in which Pakistan has made her presence felt at the international level is squash. Ever since her debut in 1950, Pakistan has remained among the top squash playing countries of the world. The man who put Pakistan on the squash map of the world was a stockily-built balding Pathan from Navankilli, a little village near Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province. Hashim Khan, a little known professional on the wrong side of forties, impressed the Pakistan Air force officers so much that they sent him to England at their own expense. Hashim Khan descended on the squash scene in 1950 to baffle the world with his artistry, his wizardry and amazing speed on le squash court. He went on to found a dynasty which dominated the squash world for nearly three decades. The names of such great maestros as brother Azam Khan, cousin Roshan Khan, son Sharif Khan, nephew Mohibullah, Qamar Zaman, Jahangir Khan (son of Roshan Khan) and Jansher Khan, have adorned the Squash firmament during the last thirty-odd years. This galaxy has kept the squash horizon alight with their achievements over the years. Except for a brief period when Geoff Hunt of Australia reigned supreme, the supremacy has remained with Pakistan.

Along came Jahangir Khan to topple Hunt from his high pedestal in the early eighties. While still in his teens, strode the squash courts of the world like a colossus, trampling all who crossed his path to win every honour which the game had to offer. There is no parallel in the history of the game when a teenager squashed the challenge of the World's best players in such a summary fashion.

Achievements

The torch lit by Jahangir Khan was handed down to Jansher Khan, another teenaged prodigy. Within a few months towards the end of 1987, young Jansher inflicted seven successive defeats on his countryman. Jahangir to wrest the top birth in the global rankings from Jahangir. The almost monotonous regularity and ease with which Jansher has beaten his compatriot portends a tremendous future for this scion of the Khan clan. Even at this early age Jansher Khan has come to be acknowledged by the world as one of all-time greats. Time alone will tell how great Jansher is destined to be. It is very gratifying to note that the two top berths in tile world ranking list are now held by Jansher and Jahangir. And the rest of the world is way behind these two great Pakistanis. Jansher has yet to prove his class in the British Open, the only contest which lie has not claimed during the twelve months or so. Even so lie has kept the Pakistan flying proudly high all this time. His meteoric rise has amazed the world; with fighting Pathan blood in his veins. Jansher has reached Olympian heights sooner than any of his predecessors. It will take a really great player to topple from his high perch. With youth on his side and indomitable talent to add to his indomitable spirit and "killer" instinct, Jansher is heading to rewrite the squash record book. He has already reached heights which none of his predecessors reached in such a short time.

The two premier contests, the world Open Champion ship and the British Open, have been dominated by the two khans for the last decade and a half. By winning the British Open a record ten times, the legendary Jahangir Khan lent his name to immortality. It is unlikely that any squash player will surpass that feat. The current World No. 1, Jansher Khan, has already surpassed Jahangir Khan's record of five successive victories in the world open championship. He climaxed the 1996 season by winning the 20th edition of the World Open contest for the eight time which record is likely to last a long time until someone better comes along to improve on it.

In the connection it is worth while mentioning that of the last sixteen global contests thirteen have been won by the two maestros of the game from Pakistan - Jahangir Khan (5 times) and Jansher Khan (8 times). Jansher Khan has announced that he will continue to remain on the international scene even after 2000 A.D. so long as lie is fit and able to play. The only thought which should worry all Pakistanis is: there is no one of the same class and caliber of Jahangir or Jansher Khan to carry on the great tradition and keep the Pakistan flag fluttering proudly high. The two premier contests - the World Open Championship and the British Open, have been dominated by the two Khans for the last decade and a half. By winning the British Open a record ten times, the legendary Jahangir Khan lent his name to immortality. It is unlikely that any squash player will surpass that feat. The current World No. 1, Jansher Khan, has already surpassed Jahangir Khan's record of five successive victories in the World Open Championship. He climaxed the 1996 season by winning the 20 th edition of the World Open contest for the eight time which record is likely to last a long time until someone better comes along to improve on it. Jansher Khn has already retired from active squash.