It’s a busy domestic cricket season, with the Ranji Trophy wrapping up soon and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy about to kick off in the lead up to the IPL. As our Royals get busy with their matches all across the country, Rajasthan Royals managed to host our first pre-IPL camp from January 28th-30th.
Having bought a number of new additions in the VIVO Indian Premier League auction in December, it was crucial for the new members of the Royals Family to gel and get together with some of our existing squad members from the 2018 season.
The players indulged in a host of on-field activities along with bonding sessions off the field across the three days. Our coaching staff put them through some basic fitness drills and hand-picked some match situations for the players to get acclimatised to, along with specific drills for our players.
While we almost had all our Indian players in the squad attend the camp, we also had one of our overseas players, Liam Livingstone attend and get acclimatized to the Indian conditions. This was the IPL debutant’s second trip to India, the first being as a 16 year old. Liam was pretty excited to meet his new teammates, support staff and coaches. He is looking forward to playing with them during the season. He even braved to train under the sun without any sun-screen, the result of which showed up on his arms and gave him a “red face”, as he put it.
With the snow back in England keeping him indoors, Livingstone was pleased to come down to India and get some cricketing action, hitting the ball miles into the stand on a few occasions during the match scenarios. “I have been indoors over the past couple of weeks with the snow in England. It’s great to hit the grass here.” Liam is looking forward to soak in the IPL atmosphere too. “Cricket is very different in England from India. The support you receive on the field is a different kind of experience for overseas players. I am looking forward to being a part of that experience.”
Manan Vohra, who is also a new recruit in the Rajasthan Royals camp, is excited to play at our home ground, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, in Jaipur. “I’ve been playing the IPL for six years. I have grown over the years, and this time around I have a great franchise to play with. This is a team that gives ample opportunities to youngsters. So, I am expecting a decent number of games, and I want to give my 100 percent and do well for the team."
After scoring two impressive half-centuries for India A, Ajinkya Rahane attended our first camp, and had a good hit out in the middle against our quality bowlers. Some of our young new recruits, Riyan Parag, Shashank Singh and Shubham Ranjane were very excited to both watch him go about his routine and play with him.
There was plenty to gain for the youngsters from the experienced lot of Dhawal Kulkarni, Rahul Tripathi and Varun Aaron as well. Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson and Shreyas Gopal joined the camp a bit later to meet the new boys and connect with their teammates from last season, however, were not involved on the field due to their Ranji Trophy exploits.
The players had a great time at one of the post-training dinner sessions. The evening was filled with music, laughter and a lot of stories that were shared between all the players. Teenager Riyan Parag is the second youngest player to be picked for an IPL team, and is already becoming a favourite among all the players. He didn’t shy away from shaking a leg, and even tried his hand at the piano briefly.
After the success of the first Rajasthan Royals camp, the players are excited to get together for our second camp, which will get underway in mid-February. The Indian players will then head into the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for their respective state teams. The T20 tournament will be ideal for them to find form right before the IPL begins on 23rd March.