India’s bedrock in Test cricket Cheteshwar Pujara took to his official Instagram handle, having hit the nets for the first time since March. Along with the right-handed batsman, Saurashtra captain and seamer Jaydev Unadkat, batsman Arpit Vasavada and medium-pacer Prerak Mankad also joined in Pujara’s academy, located in the outskirts of Rajkot.
While the COVID-19 hotspots continue to be the likes of Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Rajkot has remained safer. The city has reported 185 cases of the deadly pathogen so far. Professional cricketers have a challenging task on their hands indeed to reclaim match fitness as professional cricket has stayed suspended for more than three months now.
Arpit Vasavada, who secured the man of the match in the final of the Ranji Trophy this year against Bengal for Saurashtra in a winning effort, claimed that it feels good to hit the nets. He admitted that players were keeping themselves fit amid lockdown, there existed no provision for cricket practice. Arpit asserted that they are abiding by the government guidelines.
“It has been close to 10 days now. Though we were working on our fitness during the lockdown, there is no substitute to hitting the nets and it feels great. We are following all the government guidelines while practising.” Vasavada stated as quoted by Hindustan Times.
The 31-year old went on to say that Unadkat bowled without saliva, which was banned recently by the ICC. As far as batsmen’s work goes, Cheteshwar Pujara and Arpit Vasavada batted for 10-15 minutes and would steadily increase their intensity
“JD bhai (Unadkat) also joined us recently and is gradually increasing his time in the nets just like all of us. He is bowling without using saliva on the ball. As for us (Pujara and I), we started with batting sessions of 10-15 minutes and plan to increase the intensity gradually. We have also some net bowlers who are based out of Rajkot. Initially, you need some time to get your reflexes back but now batting feels normal.” the southpaw added.
Cheteshwar Pujara pads up to practice:
The national team players, including Cheteshwar Pujara, are going through uncertain times and are not sure when they would be able to resume full-fledged training. The 31-year old’s next assignment is likely to be the tour of Australia, where Virat Kohli’s men will partake in four Tests. Pujara was integral to their triumph the previous time and would be expected to play a similar role again.