Think of Ramesh Powar and the portly frame of the off-spinner immediately strikes the mind. Nevertheless, that’s the perception which fans may have to change as the 35-year-old has shed 16 kilos to get back into shape ahead of the Ranji Trophy season with his new team Rajasthan.
The back injury that he suffered last season made Powar conscious about keeping his waistline in check. “After three months of rehab (January, February and March), John Gloster (former Team India physiotherapist) suggested that I lose weight. I had never missed matches due to injury so I followed his advice. I also wanted to ensure that I am totally fit before the new season starts,” Powar told MiD DAY yesterday.
“I run daily for nearly one-and-a-half hours from my place in Mahim to the passport office in Worli. I do a bit of sprinting and aerobics training. I was 98 kilos when I started my training. I am 82 kgs now. I am confident of losing another five kilos once the season starts. The back is completely fine now. I have also started bowling. I am feeling the difference,” he added.
Powar has also maintained a strict diet. Known to be fond of vada pav, Powar has given up all junk food in the last four months. “I prefer home-cooked food now. I am basically eating the right food. It was difficult to resist vada pavs, but I managed to stay away from them. I sometimes have it, but only after I successfully lost five or 10 kilos. It is a way to celebrate the achievement.
“A lot of people would say that I was bulky. I wanted to prove all these statements wrong. I wasn’t hurt but I took it as a challenge,” said Powar, who played only five matches in the last Ranji season for Mumbai after being sidelined due to injury.
Regarding his sudden move to Rajasthan, Powar said: “One of the selectors called me to attend a fitness camp of Ranji players at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground. It was quite funny to answer him because everybody in the team knew I was doing my training at BKC. I explained to him about my own fitness programme and told him that I could not run on hard surfaces at the indoor academy. As it is, I don’t do a lot of weight training. I do more of aerobics.
“After playing for all these years, I didn’t expect such a thing to come up. Everyone (at BKC) was aware about my training. I have been training in front of Sulakshan Kulkarni (Mumbai Ranji Trophy coach). So, this was really disappointing. I have played enough cricket to have the freedom to follow my own fitness regime. I have always been honest about what I am doing.
“I had no option but to go (to Rajasthan) as I felt targetted. I didn’t want to be a survivor at the age of 35. I have never played my cricket thinking I have to take five wickets in order to play the next game. I have always played to win matches for my team.”
‘Won’t miss Mumbai’
Powar, who toiled for over 13 years for Mumbai, said he would not miss the team atmosphere. “I will not miss the Mumbai team. I had the best time when Praveen Amre was coach. For the last two years, I wasn’t enjoying being with the team. So the fun was anyway not there. I knew it was time to move on. The positive environment was not there.
“Nobody bothered after I got injured. Only the MCA secretary would call up before a selection meeting to check about my injury status. That’s it. Nobody from the coaching staff checked with me. These were indications that I was not required anymore and had to move on.”