After months of Covid-19 enforced inactivity, India’s players are set to return to action in IPL 2020 which will be played in the UAE from September 19 to November 10. Mohammed Shami, the Kings XI Punjab and India fast bowler, believes that the IPL will tune up India’s players for the Australia tour which will follow the league.
“It would be great that the Australia-bound players are playing IPL,” Shami told PTI. “It will set the body and momentum perfectly by then.”
As per the revised schedule, India’s tour is set to begin in Adelaide and Brisbane. On India’s previous tour down under in 2018-19, Shami had played his part in the side’s 2-1 victory in the four-match Test series. India became the first Asian team to win a Test series in Australia, but they did so against a depleted home side that was without Steven Smith and David Warner, who were serving their ball-tampering ban. The pair has been successfully reintegrated into the Australian set-up since and is set to face India later this year.
“I feel it’s better that we are playing the IPL before a big series,” Shami said. “Apart from the IPL, everyone is also focused on that [Australia] tour. There is a lot of talk about that series. We will have a good contest.”
With just three venues – Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi – hosting this IPL, travel might not be as hectic as it would’ve been had the tournament happened in India.
“Yes, there’re [usually] back-to-back matches, training, travelling, that’s a bit of headache,” Shami said. “But it’s a short format, short matches, physically there should not be any workload issue. This time, there won’t be much travelling. You will have to travel just about for two hours by bus [when there is a match in Abu Dhabi].”
Having trained and played a practice match in the UAE on Thursday, Shami said the players are regaining their rhythm. “It has been a long time since we played cricket,” he said. “Everyone is happy like kids in a candy store after getting back to the sport they love the most. We had a practice match on Thursday, I didn’t face any issues. Everyone is getting back to rhythm. I didn’t feel much difference [as I was bowling at my farmhouse].”
Shami was also looking forward to working with the Kings XI’s new head coach Anil Kumble. “I’ve a great bonding with him,” he said. “It’s very important to have a good bonding with the coach, you can explain things clearly and it’s all about having a clear understanding.”