Former Bangladesh captain Akram Khan and the current chairman of cricket operations in the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) 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 elucidated when he spoke to Sportal.
“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.”
“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,” Akram added.
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!