By looking at our current crop of young cricketers in the BCCI's setup, it is not a surprise to see each and everyone of them representing a fit sportsman's avatar. Currently, India's fitness is managed by the team's strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu, who is with the team in England and Wales for the ongoing Cricket World Cup. According to him, MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant and Pawan Negi are possibly the strongest players in India, regarding raw strength. He also revealed Mohammed Shami is his biggest achievement, and Virat Kohli is a teacher's perfect student!
Speaking to PTI, he said, "If we talk about brute power, I will take three names who are possibly the strongest because of their background from hilly regions. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rishabh Pant and Pawan Negi. When we talk about raw power, these three top the list. Rishabh has unbelievable power"
Basu has had two stints with the Men in Blue, starting from 2015.
The 50-year-old revealed to PTI, that Kohli is any "teacher's delight". According to him, Kohli is always ready to do boring fitness exercises every day.
"He knows his body and if he is training, he will have 100 questions with regards to routines. Once he gets the answers, he follows them with all sincerity," quipped Basu.
Shami is pretty famous in being an injury-prone cricketer. Under Basu's tutelage, Shami didn't miss a single Test match last season, due to injury. He went on to reveal that Shami is probably his biggest achievement.
He further went on to state that Shami had failed a fitness test in 2018, and also had problems in his personal life; but on his return to training, he went into full throttle mode. The former junior India sprinter revealed, "I had told Shami that there is no point of training hard for 20 days. You have to train consistently. Now training is his lifestyle. Look at how his pace never drops even in the final test of a five-game series."
Basu further stated that Shami has completely changed his lifestyle. "He is a meat eater but now he has cut down on his junk food. He is probably the first example in this Indian team who has started the concept of intermittent fasting," quipped the 50-year-old.
"He doesn't eat a lot during the first half of the day but eats well during the second half of the day. He has reduced his fat percentage," he further added.
Basu further went on to praise Jasprit Bumrah. "Bumrah wasn't one of the fittest guys when he came into the team. Today he is in that top bracket due to his sheer hard work, proper diet, good sleeping pattern. From 137 kmph speed, he now regularly clocks 147 kmph. Ditto for Bhuvi who bowls 140 clicks," he said.
(Inputs from PTI)