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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

IPL in UAE: Watson shakes off rust, Katich says youngsters under less pressure

Rocked by a series of COVID-19 cases, Chennai Super Kings led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni could finally start training on Friday.

By: PTI | Dubai | Updated: September 6, 2020 5:53:38 pm
csk, shane watson, iplChennai Super Kings led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni could finally start training on Friday. (CSK/instagram)

Shane Watson after first CSK session

Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson on Saturday said it won’t take long to regain touch despite a bit of rustiness as he hit the nets with his Chennai Super Kings teammates ahead of the 13th IPL beginning on September 19.

Rocked by a series of COVID-19 cases, Chennai Super Kings led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni could finally start training on Friday after clearing a third round of testing for the virus.

“How exciting it was to be back with all of my @ChennaiIPLmates for our first training session!!! It was so much fun. There was a little rust that will not take long to go,” Watson wrote on his twitter handle.

The 39-year-old, who was bought by CSK ahead of the 2018 IPL, has scored 953 runs in 32 matches for the franchise in the last two years, besides capturing six wickets.

His highest score was 117 not out in the finals of the 2018 edition against SunRisers Hyderabad.

Watson is an important member of the CSK team which has been left depleted after the pull out of senior players Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh.

CSK was forced to delay its training plan after completing the six-day quarantine after Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad tested positive last week along with 11 members of the the contingent.

The 13th IPL is scheduled be held from September 19 to November 10 across three venues ? Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah. PTI ATK

Younger guys will feel little less pressure in empty stadium but its a challenge for seniors: Katich

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) head coach Simon Katich feels that while younger guys will feel lesser pressure in empty stadiums but it could well be a challenge for the senior cricketers as they gear up for Indian Premier League.

The 13th edition of the IPL, which begins on September 19, will be held in a bio-secure environment behind closed doors — at least the first phase — in wake of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

“Personally, I think some of the younger players actually enjoy the fact that there will be a little less pressure with less people at the ground, creating all that noise and distraction,” Katich said during RCB’s YouTube show ‘Bold Diaries’.

“I think it will be more of a challenge for some of the older guys that are used to the buzz of the crowd and getting their adrenaline going. But I think there will still be a lot of motivation within our squad to go out and perform well,” he added.

Experienced mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton had earlier said that cricketers like Virat Kohli who depend on external stimulation and are used to ‘pressure’ are “really going to struggle” in front of empty stadium but self-motivated players will “do a hell lot better” in this year’s IPL.

Royal Challengers Bangalore led by Kohli completed their mandatory quarantine upon their arrival in Dubai and had started their training camps last week.

Katich, 45, said younger players could make an impact in this year’s tournament.

“I think the players will be motivated enough as there is a lot at stake in terms of the opportunity that it presents and the players want to make the most of that. They know this is a big tournament,” said the former Australia cricketer.

Moved out of India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 13th edition of the world’s biggest T20 league will be played across the three venues of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.

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