“How did you reduce your weight?” The bdnews24.com reporter asked him.
The vice-captain of the Bangladesh cricket team smiled. “Haven’t you watched the Salman Khan movie ‘Kick’? He needed a kick to motivate him. I needed a similar kick too,” he said.
Shakib made several references to the proverbial ‘kick’ when speaking about his improved fitness and performance. But he was coy about the factors that sparked the sudden motivation.
The Tigers’ superstar stood out with his performance in all three facets of the game during Bangladesh’s win against the West Indies in their first match of the tri-nation series, also involving Ireland.
The ODI in Dublin marked his return to the national team after an injury-enforced spell on the sidelines. But such incredible performances from Shakib are almost taken for granted due to his continued excellence over the years. What has truly caught the eye of observers, however, is his improved fitness.
Shakib’s weight loss was visible during his appearances in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament. But the change was pronounced upon his return home. He lost 6 kilograms in four weeks and now looks as slender as he did when he made his international bow almost 10 years ago.
He has been lavished with compliments over his recent transformation, said Shakib.
“Papan bhai (BCB President Nazmul Hasan) said the other day that I look the way I was back in 2007. Many others are reiterating it. I feel good and confident. I feel fit.”
“If you’re not fit, your body won’t permit you to do anything, even if you’re willing to do it. Now my body is allowing me to do whatever I’m willing to do. That’s why I’m doing well at present. Now I have to continue to do so.”
The urge to remain fit came all of a sudden, he said.
“Just like I said, sometimes you need the ‘kick’ as they showed in the movie. Somehow I got that ‘kick.’ How I got the ‘kick’—let it be a mystery. But I got it somehow and it motivated me. It may not be something big, but there has been a ‘kick,’ he said.”
“I was quite fit before 2011. After that, I haven’t had the chance to work on my fitness. And I never had that urge to do it. This time I was able to do it because of the kick.”
He got the opportunity to work on his fitness during his stint with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. While professionals of Shakib’s ilk would be loath to miss matches, sitting out for several games proved to be a blessing in disguise as he could shift his focus on himself. He worked on his fitness with the Sunrisers’ trainer and even called coach Mohammed Salahuddin from home to hone his skills.
“The environment was such as I needed to prepare and I could do it over there. I worked mainly on batting and bowling with Salahuddin sir. For fitness, I worked with Sunrisers’ Australian trainer. He trained me very well and I believe it benefitted me a lot. Of course I have changed my diet. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been possible. In a nutshell, I’m in a great position now.”
His appreciation for fitness and diet, enhancement of skills or even that ‘kick’ or motivation is all geared towards one goal - the World Cup. Shakib has big dreams for cricket’s showpiece event.
“The World Cup is coming up. Whatever I did was based on that goal to perform well in it. Every cricketer playing in the World Cup has their own goal. All I can say is that I haven’t strived, worked or prepared more than this in the past 8-9 years.”