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Searing afternoon heat: Challengers' latest challenge

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Mumbai, April 30 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bangalore players will be ‘stepping into the unknown’ when they take on Gujarat Titans in their first afternoon game of the IPL 2022 season later on Saturday, knowing well that while dew has been the deciding factor in most night games, energy-sapping heat would be the critical factor in the day game.

Already grappling with a host of top-order issues, with Virat Kohli not firing and skipper Faf du Plessis bogged down by patchy form, the last thing RCB want is for the afternoon heat to take a toll on their players as the side tries to arrest the slide on the points table.

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Skipper du Plessis has said that in order to acclimatise to the day conditions, the players underwent two days of rigorous “practicing in the afternoon session”.

“It takes a lot of fluids before the game. It was very, very hot. I didn’t even do much running, it was just batting. So, it’s good to get your body used to what you’re gonna get,” said du Plessis after a training session.

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On how does the heat affect the way players approach the game, the South African said, “On the day, it’s really important to try and manage the intensity. For instance when you’re batting, when there’s a definite two, you try and take a two, but when there’s not a definite two, just try and conserve some energy because when it’s very hot like it is at the moment, you’ve got to make sure that you conserve as much as you can because it’s very hot.”

RCB pace bowler Harshal Patel explained how heat can affect a player mentally, and the best way to counter it is to “prepare your body”.

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“Heat does play on your mind because you’ve to prepare for it, you have to prepare your body to take this heat, and make sure that your intensity doesn’t drop because of the heat. Heat is a big factor that we prepare for. At the end of the day, whatever is thrown at us, we have to take it as a challenge, and try and do the best we can,” said Patel.

With the sun beating down and the weatherman predicting temperatures in the mid-30s on Saturday afternoon, the physios and doctors will have their task cut out.

“We need to get some ice towels, so we can give it to the guys on the boundary. We’re gonna rehydrate them well. Just gonna make sure there’s proper hydration, ready to go on the field when it’s hot,” said team physio Evan Speechly.

“We’ve got special drinks that we give to the guys. We’re gonna make sure that for 24 hours before the game, they properly hydrate themselves, so when they get there, they’ll be properly hydrated. And it’s important that they’re aware they need to drink all the time. But generally, the body knows when you need to drink, and it’s not like you have to force it down. But we do have to go on every time there’s a break; and run on.

“It will be our 12th man and some of our medical staff might be going around the boundary, just to ensure that the guys are properly hydrated. And then we also need to keep their core temperature down and we do that using ice towels and things like that,” elaborated Speechly.

–IANS

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