The Duleep Trophy, which is set to start later this month, serves as the first game of the domestic season in 2023–24. The players have already begun preparing and have been concentrating on their regular workouts and conditioning regimen.
Shubham Sharma of Madhya Pradesh, who will play for the Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy, spoke with News18 CricketNext in an exclusive interview about his preparations for the competition and the domestic season, his experience in the Dhaka Premier League, and his decision to forgo the IPL.
Tell us about your Duleep Trophy preparation.
I’m simply psychologically prepared for the big event. I can sort of see the bowlers I would be facing and how I would need to approach them.
Second, since we have a busy schedule coming up, I’m focusing more and more on staying fit. My goal is to reach my peak fitness during the next 10 to 15 days and then keep it for the rest of the season. Additionally, there are additional drills for fielding and hitting.
What routine or exercises did you do while you weren’t working?
Due to our schedule being full with division games, we didn’t really have any rest days. In terms of my everyday activities, I alternate between strength training and jogging. We do our catching and fielding exercises on the days that we run.
Apart from that, we practice batting virtually every day. For example, we could practice for a few days straight before taking a break because the wicket has to be prepared. In Holkar Stadium, we all practice. All of the practitioners here include Avesh Khan, Saransh Jain, Venkatesh Iyer, Parth Sahani, and Naman Ojha.
Do you adhere to any particular practices to remain in the zone?
We used to try to schedule our practice sessions for the morning or the evening since it used to be so hot. But now that we must return to the match routine, we begin the exercises at 9:15 a.m. and continue them until 5:15 p.m. However, we do take a little break of a few hours.
The season will last a long time. How do you change from a white ball to a red ball and vice versa?
You can see that if your red ball technique is sound, playing with the white ball gets easy in comparison. We aim to utilize the red ball as often as possible during practice since it helps you stay in the flow of playing the seam and makes transitioning much simpler.
Our first aim is to continue in that rhythm and practice as much as we can with the red ball.
How did you find running Shinepukur Cricket Club and competing in the Dhaka Premier League?
Initially, I didn’t captain the squad, but when they saw how poorly the side was doing, they requested me to do so. I had never been there before to this. They play terrific, competitive cricket, and it was a nice experience. It’s about on par with the First-Class cricket we play here. They have strong bowlers, thus it takes a hitter to work hard to score runs. The wickets there are slow-turning. Therefore, in my opinion, it was a positive experience.
Additionally, because you are a professional and are going there, you must provide. In the absence of performances, they would fire you. For instance, Priyank Panchal, a significant player, was also competing there, but because of his lackluster performances, he was benched.
Personally, I had a positive experience and even won the first game with 74 points. I believe it’s beneficial for us in certain ways because it helps us become better at our sport.
Many players have recently had injuries. What, in your opinion, may the cause of this be?
I believe the issue of the fast bowlers is the workload. In a match setting, we often deploy the fast bowlers to the fullest extent possible. Additionally, the distance has shrunk. It used to be a four-day gap, but it has since been cut to three days, including the travel day. In addition, every team would train for two days. So I believe it has to do with the workload. If the depth of the bench is sufficient, a certain bowler may take a rest for, say, one game.
Additionally, I believe that the use of traditional exercise techniques like jogging has decreased. Personally, I believe that injuries may decrease if you continue running. Although strength training is good, attention should also be paid to this.
You haven’t participated in the IPL despite being reliable at the domestic level across all forms. Do you find this disappointing?
Everyone, in all honesty, is unhappy because the IPL is a platform that inspires you to work harder and achieve better. So, certainly, this is frustrating, but I think the key is to have patience. I simply need to keep pushing myself and have faith that I will succeed.