New Delhi: Indian captain Virat Kohli is often credited with leading a change in attitudes of his teammates towards their fitness. However, according to Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal, Kohli’s effect is not confined within the borders of India.
“I must say this. This is not because I am talking to an Indian commentator, who is an ex-cricketer. I think because India is our neighbour country, we follow a lot of things about what’s happening in India. As soon as India started to change regarding fitness, that impacted Bangladesh the most,” Tamim told former Indian batsman and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar for ESPNcricinfo’s Videocast.
At 31, Tamim is the same age as Kohli and he said that he used to feel “ashamed” when he saw the latter doing what he does in training.
“I have no shame to tell you this, I think this should be out, when I used to see Virat Kohli, two-three years back, doing all those gym things and running around, I used to be ashamed of myself. Honestly, I used to be ashamed of myself,” he said.
“I used to think ‘see this is a guy who is probably my age doing kind of things, training so much for success. Me, maybe is not doing half of what he is doing. At least, if I can’t match his level, try to follow his path. Maybe I can reach 50-60 per cent.”
The left-handed batsman admitted that his mindset towards fitness was wrong. “It took us a long time to understand how important the physical part of the game is. In the last 3-4 years, we started to understand that we need to be fit enough, look good on TV, don’t have a big belly and walk into the ground,” he said.
“I always had a mindset ‘I am scoring runs, it doesn’t matter how I look’. That was a very bad mindset. A – I was not scoring enough but I thought I was. B – I was looking horrible.”
Tamim said that among Bangladesh players, wicketkeeper and former Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim is a great example for fitness.
“We have a great example in our team as well, Mushfiqur Rahim. The way he manages himself regarding fitness, he is someone who we actually look up to. Yes there is a thing with Virat Kohli setting an example but also Mushfiqur Rahim can be an idol to a lot of youngsters,” said Tamim.