Set to lift the cup

Set to lift the cup

But the team, which includes names like Suniel Shetty, Riteish Deshmukh, Sonu Sood, Aftab Shivdasani, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Mahesh Manjrekar, Apurva Lakhia, Varun Badola, Raja Bherwani, Angad Bedi, Kabir Sadanand, Ashish Chowdary, Vatsal Seth and Sunny Singh, is training hard this year.

Sohail admits, “Back then, we went unprepared, thinking of it as a friendly match. But we realised soon enough that even the matches at the CCL are played with a high degree of competition. This time, we are better prepared and equipped.” Sohail has even hired former Indian test cricketer Balvinder Singh Sandhu to train his team for the second season starting in January.

Dr Aijaz Ashai has been hired as a physio-coach and is focussing on the areas of fitness, injury prevention and treatment, as these aspects are as critical as the ability to bat, bowl and field for the team.

The team has now been practising for over five weeks. Balvinder says, “These celebrities are not regular cricketers. So we worked on the basics of the game. We first worked on their stamina, judgment of the ball, swing of the bat and bowling.”
The coach informs since all the team members can’t make it at the same time for practice, they are coached at different hours.

He adds, “We did a lot of practice sessions with tennis balls to match their eye co-ordination and judgment of the ball. It will prevent them from being injured unnecessarily. Later, we graduated to using a season ball, and gradually increased the distance they had to stand at to catch the ball.”

Suniel Shetty, team captain, says, “We do a lot of stretching exercises to prevent any injuries. During batting, Balvinder encourages us to play shots. At the same time, the bowlers are trained to bowl at a proper length. We don’t make too many technical adjustments, but focus on honing their talent as cricketers.”

Director Apoorva Lakhia, who is a member of the team, says having a cricketer from the World Cup-winning team of 1983, helped bring in a “professional attitude”. He says, “His pointers to improve the game are helpful. He is very patient and answers our questions logically.”

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