New Delhi. Can an unfit player score 1000 runs in a season? This is the question that is being asked when Sarfaraz Khan is not selected in Team India. This youngster from Mumbai has been scoring a lot of runs for the last 3-4 years. But his place is not being made in Team India. It is being said that Sarfaraz’s fitness is coming in his way. His obesity is not allowing him to make a place in Team India.
Then the question arises whether Sarfaraz is really so fat that he cannot play at the international level. To answer this, we have to consider two things. First, if obesity dominates their game, then they will not be able to perform. But they are performing. Centuries and double centuries are being scored. So perhaps performance is not the thing that is spoiling his game.
Now the second thing is whether fat or chubby players can be successful at the international level. Instead of looking for the answer in yes or no, we should look at international cricket. There have been many such players at the international level, who used to be recognized from afar or are coming because of their huge physique.
Arjuna Ranatunga of Sri Lanka is the first name that comes to mind when remembering players with chubby body or heavy build. Taking singles of this player who won the World Cup to Sri Lanka had become a style in those days. Running fast for half a pitch and then completing the run in the style of a walk. Heavy Ranatunga became an example of success. Neither Sri Lanka nor the opposing teams underestimated him because of his heavy weight.
Then how can we forget Inzamam ul Haq. The Pakistani player who was sometimes called potato because of his weight, is counted among the pride of Pakistan cricket. Even though he has an infamous record of getting many run outs and getting them done. But Inzamam was that player, whose staying at the crease used to mean only one thing and that was the opposition team’s shame.
Heavyweight players like Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch, David Boon, Merv Hughes continued to win hearts with their game even before the 1990s. In the 2000s, we saw players like Jesse Ryder, Darren Lehmann. India’s Ramesh Powar also managed to play international cricket despite his chubby body.
And those who have seen the 2007 ODI World Cup will remember that catch of Dwayne Leverock. This player standing at the slip caught the flying catch of Robin Uthappa almost in a flying manner. If the matter has reached Caribbean cricket then you must be remembering Rakhim Cornwall too. This player of about 150 kg plays Test cricket for the West Indies.
Mohammad Shahzad of Afghanistan is also one of those players who are known for their obesity. Shahzad is the star cricketer of Afghanistan and like MS Dhoni, he is very adept at hitting the helicopter shot.
This is the matter of modern cricket. Even if we go back 100 years, such players are found who used to play match-winning innings even after heavy deals. One such player was Warwick Armstrong. Australia’s Armstrong played 50 Test matches between 1902 and 1921. When he used to play, his weight was more than 125 kg.
The bottom line is that it is not right to dismiss a player just on the basis of weight. If Sarfaraz Khan is not being selected in Team India just because of his weight, then the selectors should think again. And if there is any cricketing reason for not selecting him other than weight, he should also inform about it. So that Sarfaraz Khan or any other player can have confidence in domestic tournaments like Ranji Trophy or Vijay Hazare Trophy.
FIRST PUBLISHED : June 26, 2023, 16:44 IST