Young Tigers get creative to keep fit

Samiur Rahman | Published: 22:46, May 31,2020


Akbar Ali, Rakibul Hasan, Shamim Hossain and Shoriful Islam

Lack of equipment and resources didn’t stop Bangladesh’s World Cup winning Under-19 cricketers from carrying on their efforts to maintain fitness as the junior Tigers were using regular household items and tools to continue training even during the pandemic.

After capturing the maiden world title for the country in February, the victorious Under-19 players hardly got any chance to play as the coronavirus pandemic stopped cricket at all levels in the nation.

While staying indoors as per the government directives, the players have adopted innovative means to use whatever resources available to them at their residence to continue honing their skills and to preserve their fitness.

Akbar Ali, who captained the side to glory in the tournament, emphasised on the importance of being creative during this pandemic to remain fit both physically and mentally.

‘We have to be innovative. Staying physically and mentally fit is the best way to battle COVID-19, in this situation we have to put the best use of what is available,’ Akbar told New Age on Saturday.

Akbar earlier shared his training module on his social media accounts on how he was using an old technique of putting a ball inside a stocking and hanging it from the ceiling to do some batting practice.

‘I put a ball inside a stocking and hung it on the ceiling so that I can hit the ball and it will swing back to me. It’s a very old trick, but very effective. Besides, I use home furniture or commonly found tools as well,’ he said.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who is staying at his home in Rangpur, also revealed that he was using things like hammer and bricks in his workout as substitutes for high-end gym equipment.

‘I found a hammer in the shed, which is used for breaking the pile of soil in the fields. I use it as dumbbell. Then for weight training, I use brick piles. In the roof top, I mounted an iron bar where I can do the chin-ups,’ he said.

All-rounder Shamim Hossain went one step further to continue his batting practice even during the pandemic as he made a cemented ‘half-pitch’ at his home in Chandpur and was using his younger siblings and mates as ball throwers.

‘In our home, I cleared up some space and made a makeshift half-pitch with cement. I ask my younger brothers, friends to throw the ball at me, so that I can continue my batting practice. I also do some free-hand exercises as well,’ said Shamim.

Left arm spinner Rakibul Hasan, who hit the winning run in the Under-19 World Cup final match against India, was using this time to catch up with his studies of Open University and was doing free hand exercises to keep fit.

Rakib was also extremely eager to meet the national team’s spin bowling consultant Daniel Vettori when the cricketing shutdown ends and learn more about the art of spin bowling from the former Kiwi spinner.

‘I haven’t met him [Vettori] yet but I am very eager to see him and learn from him. He is a legend of the game with huge experience. If I can learn something from him and put it in my efforts, I will be greatly benefitted,’ said the young sensation.

The Under-19 team’s strength and conditioning coach Richard Stonier was also helping the young players to stay motivated during the pandemic by regularly arranging online classes from abroad, which was greatly helping the players, felt Akbar.

‘Richard appears online via Instagram or YouTube live, five days a week. We join his classes to do workouts and to stay fit in this situation.’

Pacer Shoriful Islam, however, had struggled to follow Stonier’s online classes because of poor internet quality at his residence in Panchagarh but said he was running in local fields and swimming at Korotoa river to maintain fitness.

‘In my area, internet is weak. So I can’t take part in live sessions. I sometime watch the videos from youtube and follow the drills.

‘I am running in the local school field, as part of running practice. I swim a lot. We have our own pond, I practice swimming there and also in the river Korotoa, which runs through our locality.’

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