IPL 2020 which was postponed from March and will be finally played in UAE from September 19, saw Chennai Super Kings as the first team to start practicing in earlier February 2020 where the primary focus was on fitness and conditioning of players. But due to the pandemic Covid-19, the training was called off just when players were getting into the proper zone of fitness.
The team will again look forward to the same training exercise and module when they group together for a 5-day camp from August 15 onwards ahead of IPL 2020 as per bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji who will be heading a brief practice session besides charting the roadmap for the three-time title champions CSK.
IPL 2020: L Balaji Says Cricketers Must Find Rhythm Before Performing Collectively
The camp will be held in Chennai itself and the primary aim should be to regroup as a team and start preparations for the IPL which will be held abroad for the third time. The cricketers should be given space and freedom to regain their rhythm before coming together as a team unit.
“We will look to continue from where we left off in March. The key to success in the IPL is to perform collectively. Our aim will be to regroup as a team and start our preparations. But each player will have their own different routines and formula to prepare for the tournament. The idea is to give them enough space and freedom to understand their body and find their rhythm before coming together as a group,” Balaji told TOI on Monday.
The process may not be easy as the players will return to action after a five-month gap due to the pandemic Coronavirus which has claimed the lives of lakhs across the globe in 2020 prompting lockdown in various places and postponement of major tournaments along with the cancellation of matches across the world.
L Balaji expects cricketers to be rusty and has prescribed training in a phased manner.
“We have to slowly get back into rhythm. It should be in a phased manner. We need to follow a routine giving equal emphasis on fitness, skill and recovery. That’s why we decided to have the camp a bit early and didn’t want to wait till we reach UAE to start practising,” the former India pacer said.
Players of CSK like experienced wicket-keeper and captain MS Dhoni, teammate batsman Suresh Raina, pacer Deepak Chahar and spinner Piyush Chawla have already started practising on their own for a while.
Injuries, however, hover especially when players are coming back after layoffs and Balaji has confirmed that CSK will take every precaution to ensure safety and security of the players.
“There should be phased loading of your body. While rhythm, balance and timing are important for batsmen, things are more physical for bowlers. Managing workload of players will be crucial,” he asserted.
The CSK side comprises a lot of veterans like Indian players MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Yadav, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja to name a few and Balaji is banking on these experienced campaigners to regain match-fitness on a quick note.
IPL 2020: L Balaji Says Time Needed To Find Necessary Momentum
Cricketers should understand their bodies and should work accordingly according to L Balaji. Also, there is nothing new to teach experienced cricketers separately as they will regain momentum gradually as they have been practising skills for the last 20 to 25 years.
“In cricket, the repetitiveness of the practice sessions makes you a better player. If you are practising a skill for 20-25 years, it’s not going to run away from you just like that. The muscles might be a bit stiff initially so you will need a bit of time to find the momentum and your footing. So we need to understand your own body and work accordingly. But the players have been there and done that. So you don’t need to teach them anything separately,” Balaji said.
CSK are one of the title contenders this year and also has a lot of foreign recruits like Josh Hazlewood, Shane Watson, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Faf Du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Mitchell Santner, Sam Curran but they will not be seen in action in the camp and will fly directly to UAE.