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Home / Cricket / Shardul Thakur hits nets after long break due to Covid-19 lockdown

Shardul Thakur hits nets after long break due to Covid-19 lockdown

The India seamer avoids shining the ball with saliva or sweat as a few Mumbai players from Palghar, north of the metro, get a feel of outdoor practice after over two months.

cricket Updated: May 23, 2020 18:53 IST
File image of India's Shardul Thakur bowls in the nets during a training session.
File image of India's Shardul Thakur bowls in the nets during a training session.(AP)

The first practice session for two months, in the non-red zone of Maharashtra’s Palghar district, was a different experience for India pacer Shardul Thakur on Saturday.

The Mumbai bowler used an old ball for the net session held at the Palghar Dahanu Taluka District Sports Association Ground, but not once did he shine the ball.

In the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the International Cricket Council on Friday, use of saliva is not allowed to shine the ball. Though it was hot and humid, Thakur made a conscious effort to not shine the ball, avoiding the use of sweat as well though it is allowed.

“It must be the first time since I learnt the importance of shining the ball that I did not shine it at all,” said Thakur.

The 28-year-old has been doing workouts at home in the lockdown phase, but was bowling for the first time since March 13. “It took some time to get used to running with spikes on as I was wearing them after a long time,” said Thakur, who bowled five overs.

“I was to join the Chennai Super Kings training in Chennai on March 15, but IPL got postponed and I came home to Palghar (Palghar-Mahim village) on March 17.”

Thakur trained with five players, including Mumbai Ranji batsman Hardik Tamore, who hit a century in the last match of the season against Madhya Pradesh at Wankhede Stadium. Tamore and Sairaj Patil (Mumbai U-23 batsman), took turns to bat in the session that started at 8 am and lasted two-and-half hours. “This was the first time I was batting after playing a Twenty20 match at Bhopal for DY Patil SA. Since then it has been workouts at home and batting drills. I was fine after taking some throw downs,” said Tamore.

Thakur plans to practice next after a few days. “Training everyday won’t be right after the long gap. We have to gradually get into it.”

The India player said everyone took necessary precautions by wearing the mask on the way to the ground, and putting it on immediately after practice and maintaining social distance. “All the bowlers used their personal balls,” said Thakur.

Neighbouring areas are in the red zone (due to Covid-19 positive cases) but Palghar Grameen is not, according to the new guidelines. “Once the guidelines from the Palghar district collector were issued concerning sports, the aim was always to begin the training process. Due to the facility in Palghar district, we were able to facilitate the much-needed training programme for our players, starting with India and Mumbai players of the area,” said Mumbai Cricket Association apex council member, Ajinkya Naik.

“We love the game so much, it was only about going there and bowling. I was not thinking much, it was not a day to analyse,” said Thakur, calling IPL a festival he has missed this summer.

“It is good that my body is not sore, I was in good rhythm, was generating speed, but for accuracy I will need a few more sessions; today, I was a bit haywire.”

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