Back in the days, cricket was never considered as the physically demanding sport. One would have never thought that any cricketer would make it to the list of ‘the fittest athletes in the world’. However, this perception of cricket changed about three decades ago.
The arrival of limited overs cricket has resulted in a standard shift as far as cricketers’ fitness levels are concerned. Running between the wickets became important for the batsman and in the same way the fielding side aims to save every run possible. As a result, fielding ethics have seen a drastic change over the last few years.
In the modern era of cricket, a player needs to be leaner, stronger, and more athletic than they were ever before. Especially, a modern day cricketer who brings together these qualities in his body is none other than Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
Kohli is the rightful ambassador of cricket and known for his unmatched strokeplay and his daring leadership. He is the master of modern day cricket and that’s why he is nothing short of a world-class athlete. He is the fastest between the wickets, he is an amazing fielder with a rocket throw and his power to smash the ball into the stands isn’t less than any other player. Kohli displays unmatchable levels of fitness while coping with the burden of a packed cricketing calendar.
Fitness mentor of Kohli – Shankar Basu
Shankar Basu played a huge role in Kohli’s transformation in recent times. He gathered attention after his stint as the fitness trainer of the Indian national cricket team. His association with Virat in the gym continues as Basu is now the strength and conditioning coach of the Royal Challengers Bangalore as well.
Basu introduced Kohli to weightlifting, which has rendered into added strength, flexibility and endurance in India’s ace batsman. The prejudiced concept that surrounds weightlifting is that it reduces athletes’ performances. However, Gary R. Hunter, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says, “There is no doubt that an appropriate weight-training program would improve efficiency in pretty much any athlete.”
In a similar way, Basu also believes in the benefits of weightlifting in an athlete’s career. Last year, he handed Kohli a stick and taught him the proper technique of lifting weights. Despite Kohli’s constant pestering, he gave Virat actual weights only after two months of proper training. Now, Basu proudly says, “Virat is a proper lifter.”
Despite the fact that weightlifting emphasises more on muscle growth, but very few know that it also enhances one’s flexibility. More prominently, the entire lower body needs the flexibility to achieve the full ranges of motion when performing the lift. Kohli’s huge strides forward that allow him to pull off the perfect cover drive is an evidence to his flexibility. When he flicks the ball off his pads, often from outside the off stump, those are his flexible wrists coming into play.
Benefits of Weightlifting in athletes’ career
Apart from stimulating flexibility, weightlifting also helps to develop power and speed for athletes. Virat is explosive off the blocks when running between the wickets. On the field, he covers remarkable ground to cut off the ball, only to follow it with a rocket throw which he produces from his strong shoulders. Weightlifting reinforces Kohli’s lower limbs, which helps him to generate explosiveness while running between the wickets and while fielding.
Beyond a shadow of the doubt, Virat is a proof to the success weightlifting requires in a top-notch athlete. However, that efficiency he brings to the ground succeeds from hard sessions in the gym. For a player like Virat Kohli to sustain at the international level, the focus on fitness was of supreme prominence. Weightlifting has just been his latest arrow to his tremor.