Captain Shreyas Iyer is heeding the advice of head coach Ricky Ponting, as the Delhi Capitals prepare for the 2020 Indian Premier League.
Ponting joined the squad belatedly due to quarantine measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“When we finally got the go-ahead for our very first training session of the season, the excitement was palpable,” Iyer wrote in a column for the Capitals.
“Ricky was in quarantine, which means his opening talk of the season was going to be over a Zoom call. ‘Go easy, not lazy,' he told us. “‘Slow and steady, short and sharp sessions to start with. And more intense as we go along.' It's amazing how much energy he manages to put into us even from across a computer screen.”
This year's IPL will be played in the United Arab Emirates. There won't be spectators as a preventative measure against the spread of the virus.
Delhi's first match will be against the Kings XI Punjab in Dubai on 20 September. They will then play the Chennai Super Kings in the same city before travelling to Abu Dhabi to play against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“I can't tell you how much I waited for the day of our first training session. Before that, we were locked in our rooms for a week. I kept myself occupied with room workouts, as our strength and conditioning coach monitored me over a video call. In the evenings, I turned to Netflix,” added Iyer.
“On the first day of training, I was ready a whole hour before schedule. And once I stepped out, nostalgia hit me. The sight of the green outfield, and the white picket fence at the International Cricket Council Academy, our training venue, was a sight for sore eyes. How much we'd all missed this for the past few months.
“It wasn't easy to get into the groove, to be honest. And the humidity made things worse. But I'd pick this over the hotel's air-conditioning any day. Two sessions in, I started finding my rhythm back, slowly but surely. You could see the intensity in the nets and the outfield.”
Delhi have never won the IPL. The Mumbai Indians are the reigning champions.