The government might have relaxed lockdown rules and athletes have slowly started individual outdoor training, but the contracted Indian cricketers are waiting for the go-ahead from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) before they hit the ground running.
Speaking to IANS, a contracted player said that while the cricketers are looking forward to start their outdoor training, they will do the same only after getting the go-ahead. For now, the players have been following the customised fitness routine given to them by trainer Nick Webb and physio Nitin Patel.
“We are being extremely careful. We trust our team’s support staff and we are working out as per their guidance. When it is the right time for us to change the process, they will let us know and we will follow the new protocols strictly. The key is to be patient in these times when the factors that have forced this change upon us are not in our control,” the player pointed.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen cricket events being cancelled and even on Thursday the Sri Lanka board announced that the limited-overs series they were keen to host against India in June had to be called off with an eye on the pandemic.
In fact, Indian players have through the lockdown told IANS that they will need at least a couple of weeks of outdoor training before they can get back into the zone.
Batsman Shreyas Iyer had said: “Yes, we will need a few net sessions for sure to get the timing back (as a batsman) and also to get the muscle memory working. We will be holding the bat after a while also to have players standing around as you face bowlers bowling at 140kph, it will not be easy to come back into that zone and it will need a few training sessions as also the mental memory to settle down completely.
“It is not going to be easy, but at the same time we are professionals and we have played for so many years to reach this stage, so it will not take us very long. It will be a good challenge for us to overcome and get started with cricket,” he had explained.
Echoing similar sentiments, Deepak Chahar said: “Will take around 10-odd days. You haven’t played for a while, so the body takes time to get used to that side. It is just about following a process to make a return so that the body doesn’t feel shocked. Obviously as professionals we know how to bowl and all of that, but fine-tuning the mind and getting it ready is the challenge here. You need a bit of training and some warm-up games.”
Spinner Kuldeep Yadav had also spoken about the need to slowly get back into the groove. “For sure we will need time to get back to the routine. It’s like if you take a break for 4-5 months and then jump into it again it becomes complicated. It will be difficult for batsmen, spinners, fast bowlers Â— basically for everyone,” he had pointed.
While a few cricketers (mostly the non-contracted ones) have been seen training outdoors over the last week, there has been no official go-ahead for the same from the BCCI. The board is in fact in the process of developing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which would be put in place for all state associations and players to follow once cricketing activities resume.