Jammu and Kashmir cricketers train in Vadodara ahead of Vijay Hazare Trophy

With a communication clampdown, the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) could not even contact the players and as result, the state had to pull out of the Vizzy Trophy last month.

Jammu and Kashmir cricketers during a training session at Motibaug ground in Vadodara on Friday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Jammu and Kashmir cricketers started their pre-season camp at the scenic Motibaug ground in Vadodara on Friday.

Ever since the Indian government decided to abrogate Article 370, which granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, there has been a curfew in most parts of the valley. And consequentially, the cricketers missed out on any cricketing activities for more than a month.

With a communication clampdown, the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) could not even contact the players and as result, the state had to pull out of the Vizzy Trophy last month.

Now, with barely a few weeks left for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the cricketers trained at Motibaug in a bid to regain the old touch.

“We know there is not much time in hand, but we have to be ready for the Vijay Hazare Trophy - which begins on September 24. So, our target is to make the most of the opportunities we get,” Irfan Pathan, the team’s mentor, told Sportstar on Friday.

While most of the cricketers preferred to stay away from the media, Pathan - who has played 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is for India - made sure that the cricketers felt at home.

“The players have been out of the game for a while now, so it will take a bit of time to get things back in shape. But we still have three weeks in hand, hopefully things will improve,” Pathan said.

Parvez Rasool skips training

On the first day of training, the players had a long bonding session, under the watchful eyes of Pathan and coach Milap Mewada.

“Since it’s the first day, we decided to have lighter training sessions. As the camp progresses, we will peak at the right time,” Pathan said.

While most of the players attended the session, which continued for five hours, captain and India international, Parvez Rasool, skipped the training as he was not keeping well.

“Today, there were catching sessions and drill sessions. These are early days and we are confident of getting back in right shape before the tournament begins,” Pathan said.

The Vijay Hazare Trophy is likely to be played across four venues - Bengaluru, Jaipur, Vadodara and Dehradun - and chances are high that Jammu and Kashmir might have to travel to Jaipur for the games.

“The conditions in Vadodara are good at the moment and it will help our boys to acclimatise to the conditions. It would have been great had we played the Vizzy Trophy, but we have to move on,” Pathan said.

The team is likely to train in Vadodara for another 10 days and if all goes well, there could be a few practice games as well.