Mayank Agarwal resumes training with RX Murali

As the Karnataka government allowed sports to resume, Muralidhar, a seasoned coach in Bengaluru, has started one-on-one conversations with his students.

Mayank Agarwal and his coach RX Murali at the academy in 2018.   -  Special Arrangement

Renowned cricket coach RX Murali has started one-on-one sessions with players at his academy in Marathahalli in Bengaluru following the directive of the Sports Ministry on May 18.

India Test opener Mayank Agarwal, one of his wards, has also joined the mind conditioning sessions to be able to return stronger.

Besides the Sports Ministry order, the Karnataka government has allowed sports — except swimming, kabaddi and boxing — to resume. This has strengthened Murali’s case.

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“My academy is functional but I am still not conducting group training [to maintain social distancing]. I am just doing one-on-one sessions. I have started recently, and Mayank is coming for training,” Murali confirmed to Sportstar on Monday.

More than mental and physical health, the cricketers are concerned about the scheduling of club cricket, the format and the domestic season.

“They are anxious about how the season would pan out. Some of the club games could be reduced to two days instead of four, so these changes may reduce the opportunity for a lot of cricketers at the entry-level. They are already behind schedule. And doing well in club cricket can help them get selected in the zonal teams. Also, if the league performance is not strong enough, you lose a year,” explained Murali.

Since most of his students own vehicles, reporting to the academy is safer. Mayank has to drive 25 kilometres to get to Murali.

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“The traffic has not peaked yet, touch wood. Normally, it takes around two hours from the city but now, it takes around 40 minutes,” he said.

He appreciates the commitment of the players, including Mayank. He wants to motivate them so they can bounce back stronger. “Everybody is expecting the game to start and India is a powerhouse for cricket. If India doesn’t start, it will be hard for cricket to make any start,” he said, adding, “Till the vaccine is out, the pandemic is not going to subside but the government has done an amazing job so far. If everybody takes care of themselves, half the battle is won.”

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