From being detected as the first Covid-19 positive case in Bangladesh cricket on May 9 to successfully recovering from coronavirus and leaving the hospital on May 29 – the three weeks were perhaps the toughest journey in entire life for Ashikur Rahman.
Now a development coach of Bangladesh Cricket Board, Ashik had started his career as a promising fast-bowler and had featured in Bangladesh U-19 World Cup side in 2002. He later became an assistant coach of Bangladesh women's team. But to Ashik, all those accomplishments and identities have assumed little significance since his life-altering fight against the deadly virus.
Ashik was distributing relief materials among coronavirus-affected people, organised by the Ramkrishna Mission in his neighbourhood Gopibagh when he first realised something was wrong with his health.
"I didn't understand at first. I thought I had a swollen tonsil. I had sore throat at first; then slowly came the fever and then I started to have chest pain. I got myself tested and at the same time, I informed BCB's chief physician Debashish Chowdhury and Saber Hossain Chowdhury, the member of parliament from my area. I was shocked when the result of the test came positive. I couldn't believe this had happened to me," recalled Ashik.
Ashik's cricketing identity helped him get tested quickly, yet he was facing trouble in securing a cabin at the Mugda General Hospital after getting admitted there on May 11.
"I knew I had to give it all to get out of that difficult situation, so I looked for help wherever I could. I must thank BCB, CWAB (Cricketers' Welfare Association of Bangladesh) and Saber bhai, who arranged a cabin for me in the hospital. There were a lot of limitations regarding treatment and facilities, still the way the doctors and nurses took care of me was unforgettable," Ashik said.
Like most serious Covid-19 patients, Ashik felt breathing problem. A follower of Swami Vivekananda' teachings, Ashik worked on releasing negative energy from the body and gaining inner strength.
"After a couple of days at the hospital, I started to feel chest pain and I felt suffocated due to breathing problem. I tried one of Swami Vivekananda's practices, which was to work on my breathing. I used to take deep breaths and while breathing out, I used to say Ameen. It worked well for me and I felt better every day," recalled Ashik.
Ashik's remained mentally strong and recovered from the disease, and was released from the hospital following two negative tests within 72 hours.
"It was the happiest moment of my life when I tested negative, not once but twice. I thanked the Almighty first. While leaving the hospital, I felt this was my second life and I would want to utilise this to the fullest. I must also thank my friend Mohammad Ashraful along with Mominul Haque, Imrul Kayes – all of whom were constantly in touch with me during my difficult time," he added.
Having found a new lease of life, Ashik wants to contribute to cricket even more, and this time he wants to help age-level cricketers gain inner strength, that strength which helped him walk back to life from a very precarious journey.