Jahanara Alam itching to get back on the field

Jahanara Alam celebrates a wicket. © ICC

The coronavirus pandemic has affected people all around the world, forcing everyone indoors and changing life as we know it. For athletes, this has been a particularly difficult change – being confined to their homes, unable to get out to exercise and having to find ways to stay fit through innovative ways.

Bangladesh pacer Jahanara Alam, who has been stuck at home since she returned from Australia after the T20 World Cup 2020, says she is itching to get outdoors, especially after seeing that Bangladesh men’s wicketkeeper-batter Mushfiqur Rahim managed to get in a session outdoors.

“It’s different to practice on the field. You can’t compare it to working out on a treadmill,” Alam told The Daily Star. “It works really well and refreshes you when you do drills on the field. I am a pace bowler and you know how important fitness is for a pace bowler.”

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“Mushfiq bhai’s work ethic can serve as an inspiration to any cricketer and I was inspired to do the same when I saw him practising on the lush green, but I have no scope for that.”

“The coronavirus suddenly changed everything. I was bored but now I try to be positive. Can you imagine, for the past four months I have been locked at home? Initially, I only did free-hand exercises as I had no gym equipment and as a result, I gained 2kgs,” she continued.

Alam has since doubled down and purchased a treadmill and some other gym equipment in order to stay in shape, contacting Rahim for assistance.

“I purchased some instruments, including a treadmill, and now I am fully focusing on my fitness because it would be unwise to work on fitness instead of skills when we return to cricket. Fitness is a big concern for any pacer, so I have to be fit and Mushfiq bhai is a great inspiration in this regards,” she said.

As an elite athlete, Alam has had to forego many of her favourite foods through her career, but she said, the break has given her a chance to have a few extra ‘cheat days’.

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She has also used the time to improve her skills off the field, spending time in the kitchen, learning to cook new dishes every day.

“I love to cook and I love to eat different food. As an athlete, I need to sacrifice many of my favourite items due to my diet. However, the break afforded me the luxury to eat my favourite ice cream and the quantity was not insignificant,” she laughed. “I already started to follow my dieting chart again so there will be no more ice cream more in the near future.”

With international cricket having recently resumed in England, Alam is hopeful that activity around the world will slowly begin as well. It is the thought of outdoor activity that is keeping her motivated, she said.

“Cricket returned to England and many other countries are also planning to resume. As far as I know, the board (Bangladesh Cricket Board) is planning to resume women’s cricket through domestic competitions and it will definitely help us in regards to fitness. I am looking forward to starting outdoor practice after the Eid vacation. I always try to stay positive,” she concluded.