How cricketers can train during COVID-19? Ramji spells out

Ramji Srinivasan, former India strength and conditioning coach, shares unique ideas to fine-tune batting, bowling and catching skills in the time of lockdown.

India captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri at a training session.   -  FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

 

Practising cricket in times of lockdown can take us to old fashioned techniques adopted by the Indian and Australian greats, among others, who perfected the art by using the walls of their houses.

Former Indian strength and conditioning coach Ramji Srinivasan believes such training methods could help batsmen and bowlers find some rhythm, against the odds, when everything is shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He spoke about batsmen using a wet tennis ball, banging it against the wall, and playing with soft hands and deft touch as it bounces off the surface at varying heights. “You can also bat against a tennis ball taped on one side. It will assist reverse swing as the ball comes off the wall,” he said.

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Ramji also advocated using a multicoloured golf ball and dribbling it with one stump, keeping the sphere in the air as long as possible to help hand-and-eye coordination, so essential for batsmen and ‘keepers.

He noted opting for an uneven wall in the backyard or a corner of the flat could be useful  for catching practice since the ball could come at varying speeds and angles, so essential for catching.

Ramji Srinivasan at his fitness centre in Chennai.   -  FILE PHOTO/ S.R. RAGHUNATHAN

 

Circles, lines or squares can be drawn on the ground and the batsmen can improve their footwork and balance by performing various positional drills.

For the bowlers, Ramji suggested posterior kinetic chain exercises to strengthen key muscles such as glutes, calf, lower back and hamstring.   

Even for bowlers, agility and footwork drills would be beneficial to find balance and stability, he said. But complex drills must be performed with only individual monitoring.  “The bowlers, particularly the pacemen, should opt for softer surfaces for training. Even if the bowlers do not have access to modern gym facilities they could use the ground and the pillow for lots of routines.

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“There is also a difference in aerobic exercises done indoors and outdoors because of ground reaction forces and running mechanics,” Ramji said.

He added bowlers could, innovatively, try lifting loads of a bucket of water or bottles or a water can and perform both the rotational and anti-rotational movements.

Then, the bowlers, too, could bowl off a shorter run against the wall just to stay in some kind of rhythm and keep track of their bowling action, that can be lost easily during a long break.

Indeed, in times such as these, the wall is a cricketer’s best friend.     

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