IPL 2020: Feels good to be back, says Rohit
Defending champions Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore train for the first time in the UAE
After Kings XI Punjab and the Rajasthan Royals, the opportunity finally arrived for some of the other teams to play ball too.
Following their mandatory quarantine and Covid-19 tests, according to the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) and the UAE health protocols, three other franchises embarked on their first training session on Friday.
Two-time winners the Kolkata Knight Riders, who are based in Abu Dhabi, arrived for their session at the Zayed Cricket Stadium at around 4.30 p.m (6 p.m IST).
Feels great to be back in the middle, doing what we do best! It's been a challenging period of quarantine for the Knights, but we all know how important it was for everyone's well-being ??#SafetyFirst #KorboLorboJeetbo #IPL2020 #KKR pic.twitter.com/tRsZpQoX7T- KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) August 28, 2020
Defending champions the Mumbai Indians, who too have made the UAE capital their base, began their training session at 7.30 p.m (9 p.m IST).
Both teams were welcomed to the sprawling facility, which is 15,000 square metres, and into a biosecure bubble.
Matt Boucher, the CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket, had told the Khaleej Times earlier this month that franchises will have access to 30 nets, including 16 brand new ones.
"In the last year, we have developed 16 new nets so we have a whole new international net campus. We have 16 brand new nets and they are ready for the IPL teams," Boucher had said.
"We also have our cricket academy where eight of those nets will be available for use, which means 24 nets, together with both the squares of the playing surfaces, adding another six. So, it is a significant territory here and we have expanded it well. And we have expanded it with both international and community cricket in mind and it is moments like these where it is exciting and hopefully see some full utilisation of the facilities," he had added.
The entire area was fenced and sanitised prior to the arrival of the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Mumbai Indians. The Department of Health was on-site, while ambulatory services were also on stand-by to provide medical assistance in case of injuries or emergencies.
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma had a good outing at the nets and so did Jasprit Bumrah, with the Indian fast bowler on point with his yorkers.
"Feels good to be back, even though it's only for an hour but we will take it," said Sharma, as he headed towards the nets, with two bats in hand.
The Kolkata Knight Riders had touched down in the UAE last Thursday night, while the Mumbai Indians arrived the following day.
Friday also saw Indian captain Virat Kohli also lead his Royal Challengers Bangalore out for their first training session as well.
You've all been asking and we have heard you!- Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) August 28, 2020
RCB's first practice session of the season! ????
How did you like the golden helmets, 12th Man Army? ??#PlayBold #IPL2020 #WeAreChallengers pic.twitter.com/hB6MY0jXpv
The RCB skipper, who is expecting a baby with wife and actor Anushka, looked to be in fine fettle as he hooked a bouncer from a left-arm pacer, at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai.
The sound of the bat hitting the ball was loud and clear as he middled it to perfection. And the aggressive intent in the shot saw the ball dispatched in the blink of an eye.
RCB had earlier on Thursday enjoyed a team bonding session at their team hotel Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah Hotel after completing their quarantine and the necessary tests.
They spent some time at the beach as the sun set over the Dubai skyline. Kohli, coach Simon Katich and Mike Hesson, the director of cricket operations, had a chat along the beach, while leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal enjoyed some gaming. Some of them played a bit of football, while some indulged in billiards.
Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab trained again at the ICC Cricket Academy and in what was a rare sight, former India captain and leg spinner Anil Kumble, who is the director of cricket operations and the coach, had a bowl.
The Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will begin their training soon.
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