IPL stars criticised for 'healthy waistlines'

Fans expressed surprise at seeing Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma sporting a post-lockdown paunch.

AFP/Punit Paranjpe

NEW DELHI - Leading cricketers from Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have been slammed for their "healthy waistlines" at the Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi.

Some players were returning to professional cricket for the first time in six months after global sport was put on hold amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fans expressed surprise at seeing top players including Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma, batsman Saurabh Tiwary and Chennai spinner Piyush Chawla sporting a post-lockdown paunch.

"I have never played more than gully cricket but I am pretty shocked to see some players in the #IPL2020 looking so unfit," former India field hockey captain Viren Rasquinha wrote on Twitter.

"I can't think of another physical sport where players at the highest level could cope with these fitness levels."

Social media users joked that the cash-rich IPL was now the "India Paunch League".

"Indian Paunch League (IPL) looking at all the bulging waistlines..looks like a veterans series match..," one user tweeted.

Meanwhile, Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stood out with his bulging biceps on his return to the cricket field after more than a year on the sidelines.

The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman, who retired from international cricket last month, last played for India in their semi-final loss to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup.

Fans swooned at their idol's body, with one user tweeting: "Dhoni looks WWE ready".