Pacer Shardul Thakur and mates resume outdoor training

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India and a few of his Mumbai teammates returned to practice on Saturday after being locked down at home for more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thakur along with Mumbai opener Hardik Tamore, U-23 players Sairaj Patil, Aquib Kureshi, Kartik Mishra as well as U-19 pacer Dhanit Raut and U-16 player Neal Sawant, slogged it out in the nets for a couple of hours at the Palghar Dahanu Taluka Sports Association ground in Boisar on Saturday.

Palghar-based Thakur said maximum precautions were taken during the session. “Even though the venue is not in red or containment zones, we took all precautions and followed the guidelines issued by the government like use of sanitisers, maintaining social distance, using mask etc.

We even used our personal balls and kit,” Thakur, 28, told mid-day. “The last time I practised was on March 12 at MCA’s Bandra-Kurla Complex ground. It was a new feeling. I was excited to bowl with my spikes on. It’s important to keep your body in motion,” added Thakur, who has claimed 33 international wickets from one Test, 11 ODIs and 15 T20Is.

Mumbai Cricket Association’s Apex Council member Ajinkya Naik, said: “Once the guidelines from the Palghar District collector were issued concerning sports, it was always an aim to begin the process. Due to our fantastic facility in Palghar district, we were able to facilitate a much-needed training program for our esteemed players while adhering to social distancing norms and hygiene.”

Tamore and Patil, who batted for an hour in the nets, enjoyed facing Thakur. “It was a nice experience as Shardul bowled with fire throughout,” said Tamore. “There was a lot of aggression in his bowling. He bowled bouncers and out-swingers,” revealed Patil.

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