You are not going to see fat men play cricket anymore, says Akram
Although you knew it was inevitable, wasn’t it a bit surprising when, in Kung Fu Panda, Grand Master Oogway pointed his finger at Po and said he would be the Dragon Warrior? No one, not even Po, believed that he could ignore his giant frame and use kung fu to save the Valley of Peace in times of distress. Eventually he did and it made for a spectacular viewing.
On a cricket field, too, there are several such people who we have looked at and wondered – how are they competing with some of the best athletes in the world? Some have been awesome (like WC Grace, Arjuna Ranatunga, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Virender Sehwag), while some have not been so (like Romesh Powar, Samit Patel, Rahkeem Cornwall, Mark Cosgrove). But they have all done what they could with a nice round mound in the middle.
However, cricket is changing now. Akram Khan, former Bangladesh captain and probably the first cricketing superstar of the nation, is now the chairman of cricket operations in the BCB. In a chat with The Indian Express, Akram explained the change in cricket by admitting that overweight men cannot play anymore.
“Cricket has changed. Overweight men can’t play cricket. Look at Kohli, how fit he is. If I see a fat kid in age-group level, and if he is good player, I would still pick him but tell him that he has to shed weight and get fit. Even Inzamam-ul-Haq was made to run around the grounds by Imran Khan. And these days, cricket has changed even more,” Akram Khan stated.
“Fitness wasn’t important then. If you are a good batsman or a good bowler, you got a chance. Even after I had played five-six years of international cricket, we didn’t realise the importance of fitness. Only when Mohinder Amarnath came over as a coach did we realise what fitness meant. He helped us a lot in that. We started to get more professional,” Akram added.
“In my younger days, I would feel very shy because I was fat. In the rainy season, I would play football and in the sun, cricket, but I was shy. Slowly, I realised people were coming to see me hit shots. That gave me confidence.
“Those days, mind you, there was no exposure for cricket. No recognition and here were some people coming to see me bat. That gave me confidence. But you are not going to see fat men play cricket anymore, anywhere now!
Akram also talked about why so many Sri Lankan coaches and coaching staff have been employed by Bangladesh in the recent years. The current head coach, Chandika Hathurasingha, is also from Sri Lanka, and so is the batting coach, Thilan Samaraweera.
“There is a reason. Initially we were bringing in a lot of coaches from Australia and we found that, after a year or so, they would cite some family problem or something and want to go back. Our cricket was getting affected. So we thought, ‘let us forget them, and bring some people from close to our culture’. We are now getting Sunil Joshi as a bowling coach,” explained Akram.
– Jannatul Naym Pieal, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com