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IPL 2020: RCB to go 'personal' during training

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on August 27, 2020 | Last updated on August 27, 2020 at 07.29 am
Royal Challengers Bangalore's Umesh Yadav looks at the Burj Al Arab from his hotel room. - RCB Twitter handle

RCB have been runners-up on three occasions - 2009, 2011 and 2016.

It has been a case of always the bridesmaid but never the bride, so to speak. But a change of scenery perhaps might just be what could turn the tide for Virat Kohli and his Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The Indian captain has seen is red-and-black liveried brigade come painfully close thrice only to let the coveted IPL trophy slip out of their grasp. RCB have been runners-up on three occasions - 2009, 2011 and 2016 and while it shows that they are in the mix, it has clearly been an up-and-down journey.

Suffice to say, the heavyweights haven't punched above their weight yet.

But with this season's IPL shifting tent and baggage to the UAE, RCB's undying love with the trophy might just translate into marriage.

And to that end, the RCB's backroom staff are sparing no effort to make that union happen. They were one of the first teams to dock on the pristine beaches of Dubai and as they prepare to train for the first time at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai after completing their quarantine procedures on the morrow, Mike Hesson and Simon Katich have mapped out an approach that they hope will set the sails.

Former New Zealand coach Hesson, who is the director of cricket operations, and former Australian batsman Katich, will be using their support staff to the hilt to make sure each and every member of the 21-man squad gets personal attention, especially against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hesson and Katich themselves will be on hand to make sure that the three-week training goes on seamlessly, heading into the tournament in three weeks time.

"Players have spent the last few months in a variety of environments and are therefore in different stages of fitness and training, and hence a singular training approach is not the best route to start getting ready for the season," Hesson said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

"Our support staff team will continue working in a way that is flexible and offers personalised support. We have a highly skilled support staff team to nurture the players mentally, physically and emotionally to assist each player's preparation so they are ready to play their best cricket," added the 45-year-old, who previously coached Kings XI Punjab.

Meanwhile, Katich said that keeping in mind the Covid-19 situation and the health protocols, they will begin training in small groups before ramping up preparations.

"Given the unique circumstances, Covid- 19 has presented to everyone worldwide we are just extremely grateful to be in a position that we can get back to putting on a show for IPL in the UAE," said Katich.

"Our preparations have revolved around giving the players at least three weeks to get back into the routine of training their skills and getting their bodies ready for the competition so they can build up gradually and try to minimise any injuries.

"We have several split- group sessions planned initially to help give the batsmen plenty of time getting volume in after such a long layoff. It also ties into helping mitigate any risks with Covid by not having the full squad training all at once either. Once everyone has got their touch and rhythm back with bat and ball, we will move into more competitive training before the scheduled practice matches and the start of the tournament," added the southpaw, who played 56 Tests, 45 ODIs and three T20Is for Australia.

RCB could use transfer window

Dubai - The Royal Challengers Bangalore could be the first franchise in the IPL history to make use of the mid-season player transfer window.

Transfers are commonplace in football but cricket and the IPL too has adopted it. And while earlier, it allowed only uncapped players, teams can now transfer capped players too from this season.

Transfers can be made only midway through the tournament and capped players, who have played less than two matches, can be loaned out.

And Mike Hesson, RCB director of cricket operations, hinted that they could make use of the transfer.

"We are certainly open to it," said Hesson.

"However, both teams need to buy into any potential loan," the Kiwi added. - James Jose



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