For the better part of the year, no one residing in the Gulf — residents, ex-pats and tourists alike — prefers to be outdoors unless forced to.
But with the first batch of India cricketers, including captain Rohit Sharma and legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni, training at the picturesque ICC Academy ground on Friday afternoon, the fans didn't mind burning their skin, especially after being allowed to witness the stars in action from a virtually touching distance.
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However, even those who touted themselves as 'hardcore' India followers were confused while identifying the cricketers. Not because of the fact that Ambati Rayudu, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kedar Jadhav are making a comeback to the national side but because five of the cricketers, who were training with the bunch of India regulars, are not even a part of the Asia Cup team.
With half the India squad along with coaching staff set to arrive in Dubai on Sunday, the BCCI in consultation with the national selectors has deputed five bowlers to help the batch of eight that has touched down here to prepare better for the forthcoming challenges.
Medium-pacers M. Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Siddarth Kaul sweated it out along with leggie Mayank Markande and veteran left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem during India's brief net session.
While all the five net bowlers, who have featured for India A during the off-season, tried their best to impress the seniors, it appeared that the Indian players were focusing on getting used to the scorching afternoon sun rather than working on their skill sets.
After all, with the mercury in the mid-40s, the players will have to cope up with the conditions as much as barrage from the opposition.
“Not so pleasant for sure, which is probably the reason we wanted to come early and prepare ourselves,” captain Sharma said on the eve of the tournament-opener when asked about the weather.
“We have never played in this part of the world since India is playing here after so long, so wanted to come over a little early and get used to the conditions. As for the guys who are coming back from England, having been away from home for so long, it will serve right for them to spend a couple of days with their families and then come over and spend some time in the middle. It's going to be tough to face the conditions but it's going to be the same again.”
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