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Post lockdown, players will need at least three weeks to get into match mode

Post lockdown, players will need at least three weeks to get into match mode

CHENNAI: The craving for live sports action is increasing. The fans are waiting for the lockdown to get over and normal service to resume.

But the wait may get longer for the enthusiasts because even after the athletes hit the ground after the lockdown phase, they will need a considerable amount of time to be back to match-fitness.

According to top trainers across the country, three weeks is the minimum time cricketers and other sportsmen will need even after they have resumed their outdoor training.

“It’s not that they are sitting idle at home, we are talking to athletes and giving them workout schedules, but it can never be a substitute for outdoor training,” Ramji Srinivasan, former Indian team trainer, who currently works with athletes like A Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Narain Karthikeyan among many others. While it’s true that many athletes are doing their cardio vascular training on treadmills, it is all very different from running on the ground.

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“The ground reaction force plays a very important role during training. Running on the ground and running indoors are completely different, in fact running on a treadmill can only be considered a top-up exercise,” Ramji, who was India’s trainer during their 2011 World Cup triumph, added.

Sudarshan, who was the Team India trainer from 2013-16, feels the pace bowlers will be most vulnerable when they are coming back from such a prolonged absence from cricket. “Fast bowling is all about cardio vascular activity and for jumping and landing during your run-up, the load is a lot higher. It is crucial to gradually add to the load, otherwise there can be an injury,” Sudarshan said, adding to the theory that bowlers will need 21 days to be match fit.

Former India pacer L Balaji, who is currently the bowling coach of Chennai Super Kings and had his share of injuries during his playing days, put things into perspective.

“The notion that this break will be a help for cricketers because they are getting rest is wrong. It is like a car that is in regular use suddenly going to sleep. The battery is bound to take a hit and that is exactly the same for the body of the cricketers, especially those who were playing continuous cricket. So it will be crucial for bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, who have had history of injuries, to carefully monitor the return,” Balaji said, adding that at least six to seven rounds of running on the ground is a bare minimum for bowlers, which can never be replicated on the treadmill or a hard surface. “It is almost impossible for pacers to go full tilt in practice indoors,” Balaji added.

Sanjib Das, who is the trainer of the Bengal team that made the Ranji Trophy final this year, makes it clear that all cricketers may not have the equipment at home that Team India players have. “The exercise routines have to be customized properly. The fact that we can’t be there with the players when they are training makes us even more careful. They are all pros and are aware of what to eat, but there can be a tendency to go off-track when you are out of action for so long. So the diet too has to be monitored carefully,” Das said.

Trainers said that certain things can still be done in a situation like this. “Things like strength endurance, balance, core strength and stability, hand-eye coordination drills, flexibility, breathing techniques involving yoga can be done. Prehab work, which is done to prevent injuries, can also be worked on,” Ramji added.

The trainers feel that because batting is a lot about hand-eye co-ordination, the likes of Virat Kohli can keep working on those even during the lockdown phase. “Batsmen and fielders can still afford to be static at some points during the match, so their risk-factor while coming back may be less,” Sudarshan said.

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WHAT THEY CAN AND CAN’T DO DURING LOCKDOWN

BATSMEN

Can do now: Work on bat speed drills using tubing or power band; work on balance and stability using swiss ball, wobble board etc; work on strength endurance using body weight work and innovative external load like water can etc; work on hand eye co-ordination using reaction balls, tennis balls; work on reflex drills; work on footwork drills using rings, ladders etc; core strength and stability work using swiss balls/ medicine balls

Cannot do now: Sprint work, agility work, outdoor aerobic running, nets session, explosive plyometric drills

FAST BOWLERS

Can do now: Rotational and anti-rotational exercise using tubing/power bands; balance and stability using wobble board/ swiss ball etc; aerobic and anaerobic hybrid work using body weight or external load like medicine balls/ dumbbell weights, etc; glutes strength and stability using loop band/power band and free-hand exercises; work on core muscles, core strength

Cannot do now: Running technique drills, outdoor aerobic fitness related protocols, nets session, fielding drills, speed endurance/sprint work, explosive plyometric drills
WICKETKEEPERS

Can do now: Work on hand-eye coordination drills using tennis balls/golf balls etc; work on stability and balance using foam mats, pillows, bucket filled with water etc; work on core strength; work on aerobic and anaerobic circuits or hybrid using body weight; work on catching practice using golf balls, tennis balls
Cannot do now: Nets session, keeping drills on the wicket, agility or speed or footwork drills, outdoor aerobic running
(Ramji Srinivasan is a former Team India trainer)
Source : timesofindia

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