October 20th, 2008
I don't follow squash, but I was vaguely aware that for most of the last half century the game had been dominated by a succession of Pakistani players. I just hadn't appreciated precisely how much that group of players had in common:
The small village of Nawakille (pop. few thousand) outside the frontier city of Peshawar in Pakistan boasts something that no other in the world can. Over the last half century, the village that does not have a single squash court, has produced six world number ones in the sport. In fact, since 1950 the six between them have won 29 British Opens (the Wimbledon of squash) and 14 World Opens (which started only in 1975).
It's as if Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker had all come from one small town somewhere in Eastern Europe.