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With the cricketing activities coming to a halt in India due to the lockdown enforced by coronavirus pandemic, India captain Virat Kohli had to spend five months at ihs home in Mumbai, away from the sport. But despite not picking his bat for nearly five months, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s strength and conditioning coach Shanker Basu, who worked in the same role for Indian cricket team between 2015 and 2019, said that he feels the India captain has returned in a better shape than before.

Kohli had his first proper hit in the nets only after his arrival in the UAE. However, he ensured during the break that his supreme fitness level was not impacted and, in fact, it helped him skill-wise on his return to action even though he was “scared” to hit the nets.

“He (Kohli) has come back in much better shape. He is at his best weight at the moment and his movement patterns are pretty much in sync with his best self in the past,” Basu, told news agency PTI from Dubai.

“He has taken this break as an opportunity to work on all the pointers which needed attention from a physical point. I guess his motto to life is ‘Bear the cross and wear the crown’,” he further added.

“He had the time to be very specific with his meal plans and running intervals at home. He did not have much of a choice during the lockdown and he invested on a treadmill and worked on his endurance which is otherwise not possible during a packed calendar.

“For ground reaction forces every now and then, he did shuttle running in his apartment which had a little space. With all these constraints the attitude stood out more than the workout.

“Apart from that, his customised strength work to compliment that was his mantra during the lockout. So a combination of running and strength work and he kept it simple by just following this to the T,” Basu said.

Basu further said that he feels his team will be ready to play a match in a few days’ time, as most of them have arrived in decent shape. “Since most of them have arrived in decent shape physically it’s only a matter of time they are match ready. With regards to assessing a player’s fitness - most of the workouts are a test in itself. As a coach, we have to be prudent that they tick the right boxes and drills which can be an assessment.

“The coaching director (Mike Hesson) and the head coach (Simon Katich) and the entire support group are aware of a long layoff and ergo the planning with regards to the length of practice times, humidity, temperature, and recovery is something we have worked as a team,” he added.

The 13th edition of IPL will kick off from September 19th with the final to be played on November 10th. RCB will be looking to win their first title in the UAE.


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