Players participating in the Indian Premier League are rusty due to a long period of inactivity but it will just take a week of training for them to regain their fitness and skill levels, Delhi Capitals assistant coach Mohammad Kaif said in a virtual press conference from the UAE on Friday.
The players haven’t left their hotel rooms since having arrived in the UAE, due to the quarantine protocol, and are eager to go out and practice. “The excitement is there to leave the room, because in the last six days we haven’t left the room,” Kaif said.
“They are excited to go out on to the field, and do what they do the best. Our job as coaches is to ensure that our training sessions run smoothly, and we peak at the right time,” he said.
Kaif denied there could be a dip in the standards of cricket due to the absence of crowds in the matches. “It might feel strange in the first couple of matches. But I don’t think players will compromise on their performances. When I played Ranji Trophy for so many years, I never let my guard down, I didn’t care about the crowd, you go out and do your best for your state team, your club team,” he pointed out.
The best fielding side could emerge as the champion this season, felt Kaif. “The best fielding side will have a better chance to win the IPL this year, in the UAE. Fielding is always neglected; if players go out to train they’ll spend hours batting and bowling, but fielding drills, if they do, will not be of the same standard that is required in a match. This is our task as part of coaching staff, to ensure everyone’s up and running. First, a couple of easy sessions, and then some tough sessions later on,” he said.
Kaif was buoyed by the strength of the Delhi Capitals squad for this season, and felt Shreyas Iyer could garner more success as captain than last year. He said he was impressed by Iyer’s growth as captain and a player. “I’m very impressed with Shreyas, the way he’s taken his responsibility. Being a young captain last year he did so well, and this year it’s going to be even better because he’s played for India and done well. He’ll bring that confidence as a captain. He brings calmness as a captain. I’m looking forward to spending time with him here, and he’ll be an even better captain this year because the team is better this year,” he said.
Shreyas Iyer (left), Mohammad Kaif (centre) and Rishabh Pant (right) in a light mood after the Eliminator against SRH in IPL 2019. – FILE PHOTO/K.R. DEEPAK
Since the teams will not have to travel too much during the tournament, players are unlikely to be fatigued and so there wasn’t any need for a player-rotation policy for this season, felt Kaif.
“It’s hot and humid, but once the tournament starts, it won’t be that tiring because we’re not travelling a lot. When we play in India, every second day you play you’ll have to pack your bags, and travel to the airport, waiting at the airport and then hotel. So the whole tournament is very exhausting. But this might not happen here in the UAE because you are just staying in one room, one hotel, and grounds are not very far. The challenge would be to find the right combination, but I don’t think we would have to use a rotation policy because players are getting tired.”