English cricket February 17, 2010

Shahzad out to intimidate people

Ajmal Shahzad, England's newest recruit, is not lacking confidence as he prepares to face Pakistan and Bangladesh. He tells the Guardian's David Hopps about breaking through barriers for Yorkshire and getting in shape for his country.

"Suddenly I enjoyed getting up at half past six to go for a run with the sun shining. Because I am from an Asian background, my mum makes a lot of fried food and curries and chapatis. I don't eat them any more. The penny dropped for me and I have cut them out of my diet for 18 months. I eat a lot of grilled food, although I still have to have a bit of spice in it. I have learnt what I need to put into my body.

"When you can see the results, you understand. In a year I went from 15 stones to 12 and a half stones. My body felt good, I felt lighter, just as strong, I could run further. I was a big lad as a kid as well. When Tim Bresnan got into the England side and I finally got a regular chance at Yorkshire, bowling long spells up the hill at Headingley, I knew I was fit enough to do it."

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo