Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals hit the ground running

After doing their homework, the boys are out to play. Following the mandatory six-day quarantine period, the first set of players finally got to venture out and smell the amazing scents of Mother Earth, and do what they love - play.

Kings XI Punjab and the Rajasthan Royals became the first two franchises out of the eight, to set foot on a cricket ground in the UAE, ahead of the IPL, which begins next month.

Kings XI Punjab, captained by the multi-dimensional KL Rahul, made it to the state-of-the-art ICC Cricket Academy, just as the sun was setting over Dubai Sports City, on Wednesday evening.

Rahul's Karnataka teammate Mayank Agarwal couldn't hide his excitement, as the 29-year-old posted an image of himself fully kitted-up in the Kings XI Punjab colours, with his cricket bag, and his mask on, at the team hotel Sofitel The Palm. The caption read: 'Looking forward to training.'

After stretching out, the squad hit the nets and that sweet sound of the bat hitting the ball resonated across the two ovals, housed within the academy.

Once Kings XI Punjab were done, it was 'Halla Bol' as the Rajasthan Royals, the first team to touchdown in the UAE, arrived from the One & Only The Palm, for their first ever session out in the middle.

The Royals, inaugural champions of the competition in 2008, began their stint at 8.30 p.m local time (10 p.m IST). They started off by stretching in small groups before enjoying some valuable time out at the nets.

The teams had been in quarantine ever since landing in Dubai last Thursday. The players worked out individually in their rooms and also underwent the mandatory Covid-19 tests on day one, three and six, before being cleared for training.

Royals' foreign recruit David Miller landed in Dubai on Tuesday but the South African can only link-up with his teammates following the quarantine.

Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals coach and former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is enroute to Dubai.

james@khaleejtimes.com

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