Mumbai: Stocky off-spinner Ramesh Powar on Thursday dismissed criticism about the extra flab on his midriff, saying he might lose his basic art if he began bothering about his physical appearance.
"Honestly the criticism has not affected me. I can't change my structure. I can't look like a Mohammed Kaif or a Jonty Rhodes," Powar said.
"I try and improve my agility. If I try to shed seven kilos or so, I would lose my strength which is my bowling," the 27-year old said.
Powar, who has taken 11 wickets in his last 1O ODIs after going wicketless in his first two matches in Pakistan in 2004, said the two-year gap away from international cricket helped him become a better bowler.
"Actually when I played my first two games in Pakistan I was a bit nervous and not mature enough. I was out for two years and during this period I have learned a lot of things about playing under pressure," he said.
"During this period I played lot of cricket for Mumbai and also took lot of wickets. I have become a more mature cricketer but am still looking forward to learn more things in international cricket."
Powar, a very handy lower order batsman who has come to Mumbai's rescue time and again in the domestic cricket with the bat, singled out a timely tip given by maestro Sachin Tendulkar that helped him improve as a bowler four years ago.
"In the Bangalore camp in 2002, Sachin told me to try and make the batsmen attempt to drive me. It helped me a lot as I did not know this aspect before. I started taking a lot of wickets after that," he said.
Powar said since he had played only two ties under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy two years ago, he was not in a position to talk about the Kolkata stalwart's captaincy style, but was all praise for Dravid as captain.
"He has given me a lot of encouragement and has made me believe in myself by saying constantly I was a good bowler. That helps a lot in feeling good about your worth. He has also always given me the the best field to bowl to. He constantly watches me in the nets and gives me encouragement," he said.
Instead of being overawed, Powar said he enjoyed bowling with fellow off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
"Harbhajan Singh is a good friend of mine. I feel it's an honour to bowl with him. We are different types of bowlers. He's faster through the air and depends more on turn and bounce while I am slower but also depend on turn," Powar said.
The all-rounder also had words of praise for coach Greg Chappell and the team's support staff for the help and encouragement he has received since his comeback.
"Coach Greg Chappell has been very good for me and so, too, have been biomechanist Ian Frazer, the physio (John Gloster) and trainer (Greg King) in keeping me fit. All these help a lot," Powar said.
Asked how he was planning for the West Indies tour, Powar, who would be celebrating his 28th birthday during the second ODI on May 20 at Jamaica, said he took it match by match.
"I had taken a three-day break and am working on my fitness, bowling etc by practising at the nets," Powar said.