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Rahane underlines the importance of fitness and game plan; Mumbai begins off-season camp

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Mumbai skipper Ajinkya Rahane underlined the importance of working on fitness and encouraged the players of his state side to utilise the off-season training camp to get better.

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) launched a three-month-long camp on the theme titled ‘Home of the Champions’ for the upcoming season.

Rahane, who led Mumbai to its record-extending win in the Ranji Trophy last season, said work behind the scenes is critical for players to deliver on the field.

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“It will inspire many youngsters to do well for Mumbai, carry the legacy forward, and do well for Mumbai in all age groups (teams),” Rahane said.

“Working on fitness and on your own game plan, because this is the time when you can actually focus on what areas you want to improve as an individual,” Rahane said when asked about what kind of work he would want the players to focus on.

“Once the season starts, it is all about what the team requires from you. These 2-3 months is all about getting better as individuals in terms of fitness and skills,” he added.

Rahane praised the governing body’s decision to appoint former bowler Dhawal Kulkarni as the bowling mentor for all teams across age groups (both men and women).

“It is a very good gesture from MCA. He has played Mumbai for so many years, he has represented India, and I am sure that will be of help,” he said.

“He has the ability to spot the talent from various age groups and develop them. I am sure he will find good bowlers for Mumbai and India,” Rahane added.

The India batter will also be playing county cricket in England to give himself match-time during this period. “For me, it’s very important to keep playing, and that is what I was looking for,” Rahane said, confirming that he is set for a stint with Leicestershire.

“Playing matches at this stage is important. I will work on my fitness for a month and go to Leicester for county matches,” he said.

“For me, it is all about having those matches under my belt before our domestic season starts; otherwise it becomes too long a gap and you hardly get anytime to (address) whatever areas you want to improve,” Rahane added.

Meanwhile, addressing various age group players during the inauguration of the camp, India batter Sarfaraz Khan highlighted the importance of being focused and not giving in to frustrations.

“I would get frustrated in between thinking I was not getting that opportunity (to play for India), but my father would tell me to focus on performing—to think as if I am playing for India even if I am playing Ranji Trophy, and thus I would only focus on performing,” he said.

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