Indian captain Virat Kohli hit the nets for the first time in five months and so did his white-ball deputy Rohit Sharma and a few other big names, beginning their preparations in earnest for the upcoming IPL in the UAE.
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 19 September to 10 November.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, captained by Kohli, Rohit's Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals have already had their first net session in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively. But, Delhi Capitals will hit the ground running on Saturday evening.
"Pleased to inform you that after having completed the mandatory quarantine period in their respective hotel rooms in Dubai, UAE, the Delhi Capitals' squad and support staff will be taking part in their first nets session this evening," the Delhi-based franchise said in a statement.
Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad's Indian players and support staff arrived in the UAE on 23 August, following RCB, Mumbai, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.
The teams are assembling for their first training session after seven days of quarantine.
Despite coming off a long break, Kohli had a good hit in the nets which was also attended by South African pace legend Dale Steyn and RCB team director Mike Hesson, among others.
Hesson was seen interacting with both Kohli and Steyn.
"Been 5 months since the last time I stepped onto the field. Felt like 6 days when I got into the nets. Great first session with the boys," Kohli tweeted.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) August 29, 2020
In Abu Dhabi, Rohit led his team into the ground and even as he batted, his pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah ran in to bowl some quick deliveries and get back his rhythm.
Rajasthan Royals had their net session at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
In line with the Standard Operating Procedure issued by the BCCI, all the players and support staff underwent a mandatory six-day quarantine after arriving in the UAE.
RT-PCR tests were conducted on everyone on Day 1, 3 and 6 of the quarantine.
The players were already tested multiple times before departure for the UAE. The players and support staff will be tested every fifth day of the tournament.
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"To lose wickets and to still beat the team at the top of the table feels good. We have beaten them twice now," Virat Kohli said.
It is for the first time in three seasons that five-time champions MI have not entered the last four after lifting the trophy in the past two editions.
Virat Kohli's captaincy reign in IPL ends without a title as RCB suffer defeat against KKR in the IPL 2021 Eliminator