Not stumped by Covid-19, Chandigarh, Punjab cricketers find ways to train for season ahead
The sportsmen have installed home gyms, swear by cycling and use technology to keep in touch with trainers, mentorsUpdated: Jul 04, 2020 16:19 IST
After the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) indicated that the Indian Premier League (IPL) season may start in October, domestic players in Punjab and Chandigarh have started working on their improving their fitness levels.
Amid Covid-19 induced restrictions, Chandigarh captain Manan Vohra, known for his strict fitness ethic, has set up a small gymnasium at his house.
“For the first two months of the lockdown, I did not step out of the house. It was then that I decided to set up a small gym at home to keep up with my fitness regime.”
Ask him if he faced any difficulties in training, the 26-year-old opening batsman, says, “It felt a bit odd to do everything without a trainer but I learnt a lot in the process. I would ask my domestic help to throw balls at me while I batted in the nets on the terrace. With the lockdown relaxed, I now go to the local academy for a net session.”
Vohra had led the Chandigarh team in its debut domestic season last year and used to play for Punjab before that. He is in touch with his teammates through video calling and they frequently share their fitness routines with each other.
Vohra, a member of the Rajasthan Royals, is looking forward to the IPL season. “Cricket will be played a little differently this season. We will have to wait for directions from UT Cricket Association (UTCA) to learn more about it,” he says .
CYCLING IS THE WAY TO GO
Many Chandigarh cricketers swear by the benefits of cycling. Medium-pacers Jaskaran Singh, Jagit Singh, Harmeet Singh and spinner Arpit Singh have added long-route cycling to their fitness regimen.
Lanky medium-pacer Jaskaran says, “I have developed a love for cycling in the last month. We take the Morni Hills route and it is a superb experience.”
Jaskaran says the lockdown gave his body time to repair any wear and tear. “There is a park near my house in Phase 9, Mohali. These days I go there for spot bowling all by myself. To keep fit, I have set up a small gym at my house. I weight train at home,” he said.
In wake of the pandemic, Cricket practice is barred in Chandigarh and the administration-run cricket grounds are still not open. Currently, the Sector-16 stadium serves as a jail for curfew offenders.
Last season, domestic tournaments had started in the month of September. However, this year it is learnt that the Ranji Trophy will be held after the IPL.
A CHANCE TO RECUPERATE
Punjab captain Mandeep Singh says the lockdown has taken him to the year 2016 when he felt the fittest. Mandeep had made his T20 and ODI India debut the same year. The Jalandhar-based cricketer was in touch with Punjab trainer Jatinder Billa throughout the lockdown and follows an advised fitness regime.
“Covid-19 has put everyone in a tricky situation. Everyone had to find different ways to maintain fitness. I, too, developed a passion for cycling. Wicket-keeper Abhishek Gupta and I cycle around 40-50km on weekends. I do my weight training and cardio at home,” says Mandeep.
He says his mentor Vikram Rathore kept him going during the lockdown. “I will be starting knocking in the nets soon. I keep talking to my mentor Vikram Rathore who is a great influence. I have changed my diet and sleep patterns. If one wants to become a test cricketer both diet and sleep pattern are important,” says Mandeep, who has switched to ‘desi Indian food’, including ghee and milk.
“I feel confident about my fitness after four years. After my back surgery, I never thought I will feel so fit again. I hope I able to continue like this for sometime more before any camp is organised and net practice and match practices begin,” says 28-year-old Mandeep, who will be playing for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
Other Punjab cricketers are also training hard in their home districts. Punjab speedster Siddharth Kaul and his brother Uday Kaul, who plays for Chandigarh, are training at their home in Zirakpur.