I recently had the good fortune and privilege to attend the Rajasthan Royals’ training camp at Jaipur. I could actually see all the players right in front of my eyes, running, catching, throwing, talking, laughing. It was like a dream come true for me. The players were within 10 meters from me. Imagine my joy when the best Test batsman in the world, Steve Smith waved back to me after I waved to him still in shock of seeing all these supergiants of modern cricket right in front of me! In this blog, I’m going to tell you about some observations that I made about the camp, how it would affect the team and how they play.
It was clearly visible that Krishnappa Gowtham was the joker in the squad. He was trying to gel with everyone. He kept making jokes with Sanju Samson, calling him a ‘pit bull trying to run’ at one point of time. He was doing the drills with captain Rahane first, and then with Stuart Binny. He wasn’t particularly excelling at any exercise but was definitely helping to create a positive atmosphere. He was also engaging in discussions with the physio, so he might have picked up a niggle during training. Still, I am sure that he is definitely in the starting 11 for the opening match.
Steve Smith was there to train right from the start even though he was recently injured. It looked like he had recovered physically, but not mentally. The wonderful athlete that he is, he was leading in all the drills, but it wasn’t looking like he was giving his all. He was looking a little forlorn which could be because the whole controversy surrounding him with the ball-tampering incident. After being away from the highest stage for a whole year, he will take some time to get to his original level.
Rahane was not behaving like a captain should. Even though he was doing all the drills well, he was not trying to encourage the more younger members of the squad. He performed most of the drills with youth batsman Prashant Chopra who is a backup for the No.4 position. Rahane did not speak a single word, and that leadership flair was missing. However, he led RR well last year and they will hope for a captaincy performance like that again.
The player who was leading all the races was Mahipal Lomror, the local Rajasthan all-rounder. He might get a chance to play, but it is a long shot. Aryaman Birla was on the field much before the rest of the team and was talking to the coach the whole time. They might have been working on his batting techniques. Varun Aaron was doing fielding drills, while Dhawal Kulkarni was nowhere to be seen. This might be a hint that Varun Aaron might play as RR’s third pacer instead of Kulkarni. I was wondering where Rahul Tripathi is when he ran in wearing last year’s practice jersey. It took him around 2 seconds to realise that he was wearing the wrong jersey. Everyone laughed and made fun of him and that was a great team bonding moment. The fast bowling coach Steffan Jones was handling all the practices and he was the one coaching all the players. I could also see the spin bowling coach Siraj Bahutule on the sidelines.
Overall, it was a great experience and I learnt quite a bit about how teams train and how players communicate and prepare for every sort of situation that might come up during a match. Thank you for reading!