Mumbai: After the two months of standstill in sports due to the coronavirus pandemic, pacer Shardul Thakur on Saturday became the first Indian cricketer to return to outdoor training in the country.
The speedster, who lives in non-red zone district Palghar, resumed outdoor practice and bowled a variety of balls on the nets.
"Feels good to get back on the field. It was indeed a pleasant feeling. This practice session was after two months so felt good at the end of the day. I bowled five covers, one short run-up and four covers full throttle," Thakur told ANI.
"Yes, It was like a fresh start. Wearing spikes after two months and stepping on the field was little weird till I did my warm-up and then settled down," he added.
The 28-year-old has played one Test, 11 ODIs, and 15 T20Is for India and would have been in action for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) if the tournament has started on March 29. However, the tournament was suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The player followed all the guidelines mentioned by the government. Thakur used a personal ball for the session and did not use saliva or sweat to shine the ball as recommended by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
"All the precautions were followed according to the guidelines given by the government. Apart from that, we used our personal ball for the entire net session and no one was allowed to touch anyone else's ball. Also, no one used saliva or sweat to shine the ball. Just rubbed the ball against our sleeves to shine it. Sanitized ourselves before entering and exiting the ground," the pacer said.
On Sunday, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had laid out new guidelines allowing sports complexes and stadiums to reopen but it was said that spectators will not be permitted during the lockdown period, which has been extended till May 31.
"Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open. However, spectators will not be allowed," the MHA said in a release.
But sadly, Shardul trained on his own despite contracted players needing the boards green signal.
"He isn't allowed as he is contracted. Sadly, he went on his own. Shouldn't have done this, not a smart move," a BCCI official was quoted as saying by IANS. Shardul is under BCCI's Grade C contract list and was last seen in action during the ODI series against New Zealand in February this year.