Letters from UAE By Shreyas Iyer | Letter #1

Wrapped in a digital bottle in the oasis of Dream11 IPL, Shreyas pens down some magic for you, in yet another sleight of hand.

Letter #1 | Sep 9

As I sit in my hotel room balcony with my morning coffee, I marvel at everything I see in front of me. It’s the same feeling every single morning when I sit out there. I count the number of floors on each of the buildings across me. One building everyday. The shortest building is about 22 floors tall. And the tallest, and the most breathtaking of them all, a modern day wonder – the Burj. 209 floors. It’s mindboggling, and surreal at the same time. Given that we’re confined to our hotel and the training venue, I haven’t had a chance to be in front of it. I’m pretty sure I’d feel like Liliput! But between the unreal beauty of the Burj during the day (when the reflective glass stares at you) and night (when the shiny lights come on) is where I find MY reality. The time I spend at the ground with the Delhi Capitals team, training for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.    

 

 

I can’t tell you how much I waited for the day of our first training session. Before that, we were locked in our rooms for a week. I kept myself occupied with room workouts, as Rajini, our S&C Coach monitored me over a video call. In the evenings, I turned to Netflix. The only couple of times I stepped out was when I had to get my mandatory COVID19 tests done. And believe me, it was enough of an occasion for me to spritz on some perfume before stepping out of my room. Only to be back in less than 10 minutes, with watery eyes! But we’ve had a few tests ever since we landed, and frankly, everyone’s used to it now. Our Team Manager keeps telling us that waiting for the test results to come in the following morning are always anxiety filled, much like waiting for Board examination results.

 

When we finally got the go-ahead for our very first training session of the season, the excitement was palpable. Ricky was still in quarantine, which means his opening talk of the season was going to be over a Zoom call. “Go easy, not lazy,” he told us, “Slow and steady, short and sharp sessions to start with. And more intense as we go along.” It’s amazing how much energy he manages to put into us even from across a computer screen.

I was ready a whole hour before schedule on Day 1! And once I stepped out, nostalgia hit me. The magnificent blue Delhi Capitals bus with its stickers on, the boys heading out one by one with their kit bags, ready to hit the ground running. Along with everything else we always carry to the ground, this time we had a tracker (you could totally think it’s a stopwatch, by the way) hanging around our necks. And of course, our masks on. In an online workshop we all attended, medical officers from the BCCI explained how this GPS tracker was going to work and assist in contact tracing. Unlike other years, this time we were also sitting separately, with enough space between us.   

 

The sight of the green outfield, and the white picket fence at the ICC Academy, our training venue, was a sight for sore eyes. How much we’d all missed this for the past few months. Kaif bhai, and Vijay bhai had reached before us. And before we knew it, it was officially season time! I am frankly finding it hard to describe the feeling when I put my pads, gloves and helmet on, and walked into the nets. As I heard the sweet, sweet sound of bat hitting ball, I waited for my turn like an impatient child, full of energy.

 

It wasn’t easy to get into the groove, to be honest. And the humidity made things worse. But I’d pick this over the hotel’s air-conditioning any day. Two sessions in, I started finding my rhythm back, slowly but surely. You could see the intensity in the nets and the outfield. The batters tonked the ball all over the park, the fast bowlers steamed in, the spinners got their trick deliveries out. It would be safe to say it was a case of  ‘Absence makes the heart fonder’ for ALL of us. All this time away from the game only made us realise just how much we love it.

These are still the first few days though, and we’re warming back up to the game we’ve learnt and loved all this while. Things will get a lot more hardcore by the time I get to gather my thoughts here again. Till then, wishing you all good health from inside the Delhi Capitals Bio-Secure Bubble, take care! 

 

 

Letters from UAE By Shreyas Iyer | Letter #1

Wrapped in a digital bottle in the oasis of Dream11 IPL, Shreyas pens down some magic for you, in yet another sleight of hand.

Letter #1 | Sep 9

As I sit in my hotel room balcony with my morning coffee, I marvel at everything I see in front of me. It’s the same feeling every single morning when I sit out there. I count the number of floors on each of the buildings across me. One building everyday. The shortest building is about 22 floors tall. And the tallest, and the most breathtaking of them all, a modern day wonder – the Burj. 209 floors. It’s mindboggling, and surreal at the same time. Given that we’re confined to our hotel and the training venue, I haven’t had a chance to be in front of it. I’m pretty sure I’d feel like Liliput! But between the unreal beauty of the Burj during the day (when the reflective glass stares at you) and night (when the shiny lights come on) is where I find MY reality. The time I spend at the ground with the Delhi Capitals team, training for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.    

 

 

I can’t tell you how much I waited for the day of our first training session. Before that, we were locked in our rooms for a week. I kept myself occupied with room workouts, as Rajini, our S&C Coach monitored me over a video call. In the evenings, I turned to Netflix. The only couple of times I stepped out was when I had to get my mandatory COVID19 tests done. And believe me, it was enough of an occasion for me to spritz on some perfume before stepping out of my room. Only to be back in less than 10 minutes, with watery eyes! But we’ve had a few tests ever since we landed, and frankly, everyone’s used to it now. Our Team Manager keeps telling us that waiting for the test results to come in the following morning are always anxiety filled, much like waiting for Board examination results.

 

When we finally got the go-ahead for our very first training session of the season, the excitement was palpable. Ricky was still in quarantine, which means his opening talk of the season was going to be over a Zoom call. “Go easy, not lazy,” he told us, “Slow and steady, short and sharp sessions to start with. And more intense as we go along.” It’s amazing how much energy he manages to put into us even from across a computer screen.

I was ready a whole hour before schedule on Day 1! And once I stepped out, nostalgia hit me. The magnificent blue Delhi Capitals bus with its stickers on, the boys heading out one by one with their kit bags, ready to hit the ground running. Along with everything else we always carry to the ground, this time we had a tracker (you could totally think it’s a stopwatch, by the way) hanging around our necks. And of course, our masks on. In an online workshop we all attended, medical officers from the BCCI explained how this GPS tracker was going to work and assist in contact tracing. Unlike other years, this time we were also sitting separately, with enough space between us.   

 

The sight of the green outfield, and the white picket fence at the ICC Academy, our training venue, was a sight for sore eyes. How much we’d all missed this for the past few months. Kaif bhai, and Vijay bhai had reached before us. And before we knew it, it was officially season time! I am frankly finding it hard to describe the feeling when I put my pads, gloves and helmet on, and walked into the nets. As I heard the sweet, sweet sound of bat hitting ball, I waited for my turn like an impatient child, full of energy.

 

It wasn’t easy to get into the groove, to be honest. And the humidity made things worse. But I’d pick this over the hotel’s air-conditioning any day. Two sessions in, I started finding my rhythm back, slowly but surely. You could see the intensity in the nets and the outfield. The batters tonked the ball all over the park, the fast bowlers steamed in, the spinners got their trick deliveries out. It would be safe to say it was a case of  ‘Absence makes the heart fonder’ for ALL of us. All this time away from the game only made us realise just how much we love it.

These are still the first few days though, and we’re warming back up to the game we’ve learnt and loved all this while. Things will get a lot more hardcore by the time I get to gather my thoughts here again. Till then, wishing you all good health from inside the Delhi Capitals Bio-Secure Bubble, take care! 

 

 

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