Afghanistan's explosive batsman Mohammad Shahzad doesn't feel a need to work on his fitness. Shahzad, who is over 90 kg, thinks he hits longer sixes than Indian skipper Virat Kohli without training as hard as him.
Virat is one of the fittest athletes. He takes proper care of his diets and gives as much importance to fitness as his batting. He has a strict diet plan. But Shahzad has a contrasting opinion on it.
"Dekhiye hum fitness bhi poori karte hain aur khaate bhi poora hain (I work a lot on my fitness but I don't compromise on food). You want me to have a fitness routine like Kohli, it is not possible, but I am working on it (losing weight)," he said.
Talking about Virat's fitness he agreed not everyone can be like him. But the right-handed batsman added that he can hit longer sixes than him.
"Jitna lamba chakka woh (Kohli) maarte hain, main unse zyadaa maar saktaa hoon, zaroorat kya hain unki tarah itna diet karne ki (I can hit bigger sixes than Kohli so why do I need to follow his diet?)," Shahzad added, who has 65 sixes in T20I.
The Afghani wicket-keeper also spoke about one of the toughest jobs without proper fitness, which is wicket-keeping. He said his coaches know he can keep for full 50 overs. "...my coach (now Phil Simmons) knows that I can keep for 50 overs and bat for 50 overs. I have never seen it (weight) as an issue," the Afghanistan's leading T20I scorer said.
Shahzad faced a year ban after found positive in the dope test. Recently, the cricketer was brought back to Afghanistan by their cricketing board for playing a local tournament in Peshawar without its permission.
Talking about the controversy, he said, "Dekhiye galti toh insaan se hi hoti hain (To err is human). I have had two cups of coffee with you and who knows I might test positive after this."
The 30-year-old made fans in India after trying MS Dhoni's iconic helicopter shot. "I try to hit it like Dhoni," he said.
The Nangarhar (Afghanistan) born shares a good bonding with Indian cricketers. "It is always nice to catch up with the Indian cricketers. They are very warm. I have always looked up to Dhoni and now I have the pleasure of knowing him. I have played against India three-four times and after the match gets over, I have dropped in at Dhoni's room and chatted for hours.
"He usually asks me 'what's happening in Afghanistan' and at my home. We don't tend to talk a lot about wicket-keeping and batting, it is just regular stuff about life. His room is always open for a chat but yes, it is tough to reach him on his mobile number.
"Even Suresh and Shikhar bhai are very warm people," said Shahzad.
Afghanistan is all set to face India in their first international Test match. They will play their neighbors on June 14 at Bengaluru. "It will be some occasion. Earlier, the goal was to qualify for the World Cup. We have done that and now it is all about the Test against India."
Shahzad wants Kohli to play their first Test match. There is speculation about him missing the game for county cricket in England. "It will be more fun and challenge if he plays. If he is not there, it will be a problem for India's batting, we have no issues. But we would want to watch him play."
Shahzad ends the long conversation with a gem after being asked about his family.
"Bahut badi family hain ji, ginte ginte raat ho jayegi (it will take a whole night to recall the names of all my family members). I have two kids, six siblings and my mother. It is always nice to go back to them whenever I get a small break from cricket," Shahzad said, who has 1740 runs in T20I.