Defending champion Mumbai Indians had a day in the sun and sand at their private beach at the St Regis hotel in Abu Dhabi. The session by the pristine waters, accompanied by football, helped the players unwind as well as keep their muscles activated.
Suryakumar Yadav looked the most enthusiastic footballer in the group. Skipper Rohit Sharma relaxed by the bay with wife Ritika and daughter Samaira.
All-rounder Krunal Pandya provided a virtual tour of the Mumbai team room, which has a basketball shooter, dartboard, Sony PlayStation, chess, board games, a carrom board, a table tennis table and a pool table. Pointing to the dartboard, Pandya said: “Here’s another area I guess is best suited to Boom (Jasprit Bumrah). A dartboard to practice your yorkers!”
Rabada joins the party
South Africa speedster Kagiso Rabada, who picked up 25 wickets in 12 games for Delhi Capitals in the 2019 edition, landed in Dubai on September 1. After serving the mandatory one-week quarantine, the star bowler joined the training session on September 7.
“It feels good to be running in and to be with some teammates as well. It is, of course, some old teammates and some new ones. I feel quite strong. I think I just need to bowl more and make sure I haven’t forgotten how to bowl (laughs) . I need to keep up with the bowling practice, but otherwise I feel healthy,” he said.
The last appearance by the right-arm pacer, who defended 10 runs in the Super Over against Kolkata Knight Riders last year, was in February in the Twenty20 International series against Australia at home. He later picked up a groin injury, but the Covid-19-induced hiatus helped him recover quickly.
Bio-bubble for commentators, too
Not just the cricketers, even the commentators who will be calling the game from the Star Sports studios in Mumbai will be in a strict bio-bubble for the entire duration of the tournament.
Most of the commentators — including Brett Lee, Irfan Pathan and Dean Jones — are already in Mumbai and are under 14-day mandatory quarantine. The Mumbai-based commentators too will have to serve a week-long quarantine before visiting the studios in Lower Parel.
Dr Pratit Samdani, a top internal physician at Breach Candy Hospital, will be in charge of the bubble. It has been learnt that the bubble will include all the technical and broadcasting staff as well. Also, transportation movements will be limited and there will be multiple Covid tests to ensure that everyone is safe. There will be regular sanitisation of the studios and other premises.
A team of former cricketers, including Sunil Gavaskar, Deep Dasgupta and Kartik Murali, will be in the United Arab Emirates for the world feed commentary and will undergo a week-long quarantine before entering the bubble.
Music to the ears
Manan Vohra and Anuj Rawat have proven their cricketing class in the domestic circuit. Off the pitch, they are great singers. In a team-bonding session organised by Rajasthan Royals, Vohra, Rawat and Anirudh Joshi regaled their teammates with old Hindi songs. Delhi-based wicketkeeper-batsman Rawat sang ‘O mere dil ke chain’ while Vohra mesmerised the audience with ‘Kya tumhe yaad hai.’ Anirudh sang the superhit ‘Chand sifarish.’
With the players inside the strict bio-bubble, the franchises want to keep them motivated during the marathon tournament. “We always organise various sessions to connect with the players better and that way they can remain motivated. These are challenging times, so we need to ensure that things go smoothly and players have a good time off the field,” said a senior Rajasthan Royals official.
- Al Nassr vs Persepolis LIVE Score, NAS 0-0 PER, AFC Champions League 2023-24: Ronaldo’s 10 man team keeps it all square, second half underway
- ISL 2023-24: Super sub Victor Rodriguez brings three points home for FC Goa against Jamshedpur FC as it goes on top of the table
- Mohun Bagan Super Giant vs Odisha FC Highlights, AFC Cup: MBSG 2-5 OFC, Juggernauts beat Mariners to stay second
- Prannoy, Lakshya withdraw from Syed Modi International 2023
- Hockey Nationals 2023: Defending champions Haryana to face Punjab in the final