Indian pacer Shardul Thakur on Saturday returned to the training ground for the first time since national lockdown was announced in late March, becoming the first from the Indian team to do so. Shardul reckoned that it was almost like making a fresh start.
Shardul practised at the Palghar Dahanu Taluka Sports Association at Boisar in Mumbai, where he bowled to Mumbai's U-23 batsman Sairaj Patil and captain Hardik Tamore.
"Since it was the first day of my training after a long time, I bowled only five overs. I enjoyed the delightful feeling of returning to wear my bowling spikes and return to the ground after such a long time. It was like starting afresh. At home, I was following the fitness routine given my our (Team India) trainer, so I've managed to maintain my fitness levels. However, it takes time to settle into your bowling rhythm, as the muscles have to open up. Though I've to work on finding my line and length, I'm happy with my session today. It will take time, but I should be getting better in the next few days," Shardul told Times of India.
Shardul also kept in mind the new protocols to be followed in cricket in post-COVID-world. (ALSO READ: La Liga set to return on June 8)
"I ensured social distancing was in place as we all maintained a few metres distance from each other. I got my own ball for practice, and so did the other net bowlers. Of course, now you can't spit on the ground or put saliva on the ball," he said. "Thankfully, cricket is not a contact sport. I can just bowl my deliveries and go back to my run-up, instead of going near the batsman," he added.
Had cricket been unhindered by the pandemic, Shardul would have been playing for Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2020. "Tomorrow, (Sunday) would've bee the final," he rued.