The sticky wicket was a “great challenge” but South African star AB de Villiers left the ground after his first net session in ages a satisfied man, having got what he had wanted ahead of the IPL.
The 36-year-old, who turns out for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the T20 league, resumed training after a five-month long coronavirus-induced break for the sport and said the first sessions were pretty good as he stuck to the basics.
“It was very good, enjoyable to be out there, the wicket was a bit sticky so it was a great challenge, actually if I could have it my way, I would have wanted my first net session to go like this only after a long time,” De Villiers said in a video posted on RCB’s official Twitter handle.
The IPL will be held across three venues in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.
“I kept my basics in place, watched the ball carefully, I played some nice shots in the end and it was enjoyable,” added de Villiers, who also donned the keeping gloves during the session.
De Villiers was in quarantine for six days after arriving in the UAE and hit the nets after clearing three COVID-19 tests. The session was also attended by Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel and Gurkeerat Singh among others.
The team had hit the nets for the first time on Saturday after successfully ending its quarantine period.
Strength and conditioning coach Shanker Basu said: “There are three things we have to be mindful. One the players are coming after a long time and they will be ready to jump and go gang ho and it is our job to pull them back a little.
“Number two, there is oppressive heat and that can be a telling thing, most importantly we need to find the right balance in gym. From now onwards, it should just aid the skill part.”
RCB captain Virat Kohli, South African pace legend Dale Steyn, the spin trio of Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem were among the players who had attended the first net session.
“(It went) much better than expected, to be honest. I was pretty scared. I hadn’t picked up a bat for five months, but yeah it came out better than I thought, to be honest,” Kohli had said.
The 13th IPL was moved out of India due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
RCB have never won the IPL though they have finished runners-up thrice, most recently in 2016.