PLAYER WATCH

HISSAM ALI HYDER/ Handicap: +6 goals
In conversation with one of Asia’s top polo stars

A third generation polo player with his father Irfan Ali Hyder having represented Pakistan on numerous occasions as a dashing No.1 and his late grandfather Brig. “Gussie” Hyder, a trusted back, Hissam has established himself as one of Asia’s rising polo stars. Pakistan’s ace polo player started playing professionally in 2001 at the age of 19. “Namu” as he is known by his peers earned a huge milestone in his career when he represented his country in the Commonwealth team which played against England in the Coronation Cup. It was the first time that an Asian player was part of the Commonwealth team. Married to the lovely Alyzeh Rahim Shirazi in 2014, Namu has played alongside legendary polo players from around the globe including Memo Gracida, Howard Hipwood and Bautista Heguy.

Polo Life had a brief interview with Hissam and here is what he said:

PL: How did you start playing polo?
HH: I started playing polo from a very young age of 8 years. My father had been playing at 4 goals and my grandfather as well, therefore it was a huge part of my family.

PL: What are your thoughts on being the first Asian player to play the Coronation Cup?
HH: I am truly honoured to be honest, that means a lot to me. It was always something that I wanted to do and was ecstatic when I got selected to represent Pakistan.

PL: What is your most memorable moment on the field?
HH: I think it would be when I scored the winning goal at the St. Mortiz World Cup on snow, when I was playing for Team Cartier. I had never played on snow before and it was an incredible experience. Winning the Coronation cup is also up there, it was the highest level and fastest paced game I have played to date and was continuously on edge.

PL: How many World Cups have you played for Pakistan?
HH: I have played three World Cup's to date for Pakistan.

PL: How did you get your nick name ‘Namu’?
HH: It's actually a funny story because as a kid I couldn't pronounce Hissam, so I would call myself Namu, it caught on after that.

PL: You played the Snow Polo World Cup for Cartier, what was your experience like?
HH: When you look at the snow, you think 'Man, can I go that fast on snow?' but when you get on the field it’s like playing on a grass field. It was an incredible experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

PL: What do you do when you're not playing polo?
HH: I like to play golf! It's my favourite thing to do apart from polo. I also keep up with all other sports like tennis and cricket. I'm quite a sports junkie.

PL: Preferred holiday destination/ resort?
HH: Barbados

PL: Favourite cuisine/ dish?
HH: Aloo Ghost or a good steak

PL: What’s your favourite movie?
HH: The Gladiator

PL: What book are you reading currently or planning to read?
HH: I hardly have time to read books anymore!

PL: Who are your heroes in real life?
HH: Roger Federer and Greg Norman.

PL: A sport you follow outside polo?
HH: Golf! Hands down. I wanted to be a professional golfer before I got into polo.

PL: What is your favourite gadget?
HH: My iPad

PL: Twitter or Instagram?
HH: Instagram (@HissamHyder)

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