'Went much better than expected' - Kohli on his first net session after lockdown

Head coach Simon Katich impressed with timing the batsmen showed after months of downtime

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Virat Kohli and Mike Hesson have a chat in the nets, IPL 2020, Dubai, August 28, 2020

Virat Kohli and Mike Hesson have a chat in the nets  •  RCB

Virat Kohli said that his first net session in five months "went much better than expected" after Royal Challengers Bangalore's first training session on Friday in the UAE. The team trained in batches and Kohli was part of the first set of players who underwent a full session at the ICC Academy.
"[It went] much better than expected, to be honest," Kohli told "I was pretty scared. I hadn't picked up a bat for five months, but yeah it came out better than I thought, to be honest. I've trained quite a bit during lockdown, so I'm feeling quite fit and that helps.
"Because the body is light and you react better, I feel like I have more time on the ball. That's a big plus. Otherwise you come heavier into the season, the body isn't moving as much, and it starts playing on mind, but yeah, as I said it went much better than I expected."
On Wednesday, head coach Simon Katich had underlined how the conditions could bring spin into the equation quite early in the season. And after a full session, Kohli was particularly pleased with how the spinners fared. While Yuzvendra Chahal remains the only frontline spinner, Royal Challengers have a number of spin bowling all-rounders in Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Ahmed.
"The spinners looked pretty good for day one, they pitched the ball in consistent areas for long enough," Kohli said. "Shahbaz was good, Washy was very good, I saw Chahal bowl well too. The seamers went through their motions a little bit. All in all, a decent start to our camp."
Meanwhile, Katich seemed pleased with the level the players were at on the opening day of the camp. In particular, he was impressed with the timing the batsmen showed.
"Considering the conditions and considering it was their first hit for a while, all of them were outstanding," Katich said. "A lot of them had nearly an hour in the nets in very hot conditions, credit to them for being able to do that. We're impressed with what they're all being able to do. The timing was great to watch."
For Hesson, who is in charge of Royal Challengers for the first time, like Katich, the first outing was an opportunity to have a look at many of the players, and not "necessarily judge" them yet.
"To be fair, it was a good chance for us to observe them rather than necessarily giving them too many instructions," he explained. "So just getting to know what they're working on and making sure they're doing with purpose, but also not being too harsh on themselves.
"The fact is some of them hadn't even batted for many months. So not a judging day, just a day for them to go out and get through the first session as Katto said, they did it superbly."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo