Tamim Iqbal recalls that as soon as India started working closely towards being fitter, with Virat Kohli in the team, it impacted Bangladesh cricket in a very positive way. He added that not only did it give him the motivation but also helped him lose as much as nine kgs after the 2015 World Cup.
While Virat Kohli’s bat does the talking nowadays on the field, it was his fitness journey has inspired several cricketers to become a leaner and fitter version of themselves. Indian cricket has transformed drastically since Kohli’s debut in terms of fitness - with players needing to pass Yo-Yo test before being picked in the national team. Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal admitted that Virat Kohli’s fitness revolution changed Bangladesh cricket. He also revealed that he was ashamed of himself looking at the way his Indian counterpart was taking fitness seriously.
"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 Iqbal told Sanjay Manjrekar for ESPNCricinfo's Videocast.
"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 percent," he added.
The southpaw also felt it was important for youngsters to follow Bangladesh’s former skipper, Mushfiqur Rahim in terms of fitness. He reckoned that the wicketkeeper is one of the best examples in the country, who works so hard on his fitness. The Tigers’ skipper also made a startling admission that when you are fitter, it gives you a competitive edge over the others in the competition.
"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.
"It was during 2015, I was weighing 9 kgs more than what I am weighing now. There a a lot of advantages.. you don't feel tired, you reach the ball quickly and most important thing is you feel good about yourself," Tamim said.