IPL 2021: With fitness drills and nets, the stars tune-up ahead of the curtain-raiser
Watch your favourite teams run through their paces in the lead up to their opening fixtures for IPL 2021.
With just days to before the Indian Premier League 2021 kicks off, the excitement is palpable.
The teams have arrived at their training bases and the various think-tanks have slowly but surely begun working their war horses.
The heat in Chennai this time of the year is excruciating and the teams will do well to acclimatise quickly.
Fitness is the key and will surely feature at the heart of all efforts at the outset. Then there are net sessions for the batsmen with innumerable throwdowns.
Thereafter, the centre-wicket match simulations kick in, a strategy that's integral to pre-tournament rigour.
No stone is left unturned during these last few days ahead of the season opener and watching the process unfold makes riveting viewing.
So here's a look at how your favourite franchises have been training.
Surya Kumar Yadav, a.k.a 'SKY' strode out to the nets on day-1 of the Mumbai Indians camp and knocked about a bit.
"Firstly, feels really great to be back with the MI family," he said.
"I was looking forward to have a good first net session because it's important how you start before the tournament. I am really happy with the way things went in the nets today."
Yadav was in blistering form in the recently concluded series against England and stunned everybody with his fearless maiden knock.
Also in the nets were India internationals Ishan Kishan, Krunal Pandya and the leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.
The now veteran Piyush Chawla sent down a few and the big-hitting Chriss Lynn was seen tonking a few as well.
Chennai Super Kings
Putting up an all-round show and standing up for one another is where the Super Kings pride themselves at.
And this was evident in the manner that they've begun their fine-tuning program.
With brisk catching and fielding drills, they were seen blending as a happy unit.
Thereafter, net sessions continued past dusk and Dhoni unleashed his usual big hitting avatar.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
For Bangalore, it is yet another season of hope.
They do have certain new recruits in the form of Jamieson, Maxwell and Christian, and it is on these players that Royal Challengers Bangalore will be banking on big time.
De Villiers and skipper Kohli have joined the camp but Dan Christian is the first of the new recruits out of quarantine.
With the leggie Chahal and pacer Saini, Bangalore is slowing but surely getting into the groove under the watchful eye of Team Director Mike Hesson and Head Coach Simon Katich.
With Shreyas Iyer ruled out, Delhi Capitals now have a new skipper in Rishabh Pant.
With Ricky Ponting at the helm of affairs, the Delhi outfit promises to play fighting cricket yet again.
English import Tom Curran checked into the training ground and appeared in good spirits.
"It was hot when we first got here and then managed to get a bit more shade. So, really enjoyable first day," he said.
The team also trained under lights with Pravin Amre guiding the troops.
Ajinkya Rahane displayed fine touch with his trademark punch, off both the front and back foot.
Now, this is one team that boasts of batsmen that have stamped their authority on international cricket.
With the likes of David Warner and Kane Williamson, Hyderabad is well endowed. And now with Jason Roy likely to join Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order, a shot in the arm would be an understatement.
The classy Williamson worked the nets in a recent training session. With a calm demeanour, he stroked the ball around and appeared to be working towards getting into a decent rhythm.
David Warner on the other hand appeared all at home.
Sporting a rise smile, he was seen sprinting about the nets. He was seen batting a bit and displayed his strong punching abilities.
In good spirits, he even rolled his arm over to his own delight.
The team with the #HallaBol war cry have a new skipper in Sanju Samson this year.
While critics questioned the move, the decision appears to be in sync with the thought process of handing the baton to young and promising cricketers with seemingly bright futures ahead.
A shining star in the Rajasthan squad is Ben Stokes.
The England international pummelled the Indian attack into submission in the recent ODI series at Pune.
Rajasthan will be buoyed by that performance and will hope and pray for him to come good every time he steps out.
Meanwhile, Stokes walked out for his first net session of IPL 2021.
"Nice to train," he said.
"We weren't able to train in England. Game day off, game day off, game day off," he added, citing the demanding series that he had just wrapped up in English colours.
Also, Rahul Tewatia - the underdog turned hero from the season in the UAE – began training.
Kolkata Knight Riders
For Shah Rukh Khan's team, there a job on hand and the goal will be to make the play-off cut.
The squad, therefore, is wasting no time in getting their act together under the leadership of Eoin Morgan.
The Knights have a reasonably good pace battery and they'll be looking to find their target – just the way that Shivam Mavi is doing in training.
The 2020 campaign in the UAE desert was a rather forgettable one for the Kings.
Despite several top-order performances from KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, the team just failed to close out games.
Come 2021, they will look to turn over a leaf.
Dawid Malan has been roped in to beef up their batting line up this time around. The Englishman is the top-ranked T20 batsman and he did show his mettle in the limited over series against India.
Malan took to the nets in Punjab colours and fans are bound to love him should he fire as expected.