Saurav Ghosal: We need six to eight weeks to return stronger

India squash star Ghosal feels the players will need that time to start feeling the ball again once the action resumes post the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

Saurav Ghosal is on the verge of completing a nutrition course certified by the Professional Squash Association.   -  PTI

The COVID-19 lockdown has pushed athletes towards alternative training methods. Some of the top cricketers are warming up in their garage to maintain hand-eye coordination. Footballers are sharpening skills in their backyard while track-and-field stars have gone online with their coaches.

It is to ensure a smooth comeback to the world of sport post the pandemic.

But the return could be harder for squash players. They cannot train anywhere but the court which is shut at present. And squash is too quick a game; requires agility, mental sharpness and high-speed feet movement.

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“We don’t know when we start. It is difficult to plan your training schedule this way. We don’t even have access to squash courts. No matter what you do outside, it is a different kind of physicality when you are playing a sport. You can’t replicate completely till you play. We need eight weeks to start feeling the ball again,” India squash star Saurav Ghosal told Sportstar.

World No. 13 Ghosal feels the players will lack “match sharpness” on return.

“You need to feel the rhythm of moving after hitting the ball. Once we start playing tournaments, it will be difficult to gain that sharpness immediately. We will have to somehow try to replicate that in our training. In terms of our bodies, we are going to be in better shape because we are resting. It is recuperating in its own way and we are getting stronger,” he said.

The 33-year-old, however, believes that the squash fraternity can overcome the challenge by staying positive and excited. “Mentally, we will be really good because everyone will be looking to play. It should take care of itself.”

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Ghosal stressed on the need to be present at the court to internalise the environment and the sound of the ball.

“Even when you are injured, you go to the court just to sit around. Hear the ball, feel the match, see people play live, feel the court. Now you can’t even do that. You can watch videos and all but it is not the real thing,” he said.

But he is unsure if the squash players will get the time required. “There are different pressures from tournament promoters with regards to the date. It could be only three to four weeks of training [eventually]. In different countries, the courts will start functioning at different times. You have to make do with what you have,” he added.

Kolkata-based Ghosal is on the verge of completing a nutrition course certified by the Professional Squash Association. His contemporary, Joshna Chinappa, is home alone in Chennai. She is using her balcony for daily workouts.

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