The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have roped in United Arab Emirates (UAE) captain Ahmed Raza and 19-year-old leg spinner Karthik Meiyappan to train with them ahead of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), which starts on September 19th.
Raza, who bowls left-arm orthodox, has already completed his mandatory quarantine at the team hotel in Dubai and has begun training with the Virat Kohli-led squad.
RCB decided to include the two bowlers in their bubble as advised by their spin bowling coach Sridharan Sriram. Interestingly, Sriram sought Raza’s assistance when he toured the Emirates as Australia’s spin bowling consultant in October 2018.
“I was introduced to the players and support staff, and it was really nice for Sri (Sriram) to put in a word for me. He introduced me as the UAE captain. And can you imagine AB walking up to you and saying: ‘Thank you for helping us out.’ Seriously, it was surreal,” said Raza, who made his international debut in 2014.
Ahmed Raza lauded the RCB hospitality
The 31-year-old acknowledged that it will take some time to get used to the bio-secure bubble, but he praised the facilities available at RCB’s disposal, adding that he felt at home.
“It does feel slightly strange being in this bio-secure bubble, but credit to the IPL and RCB... This hotel is great, they have a fantastic team room, and when we have a private area of beach access as well. And then it was great to be involved in my first training session at the ICC Academy as well, as it felt like going back home,” Raza said.
There is no update on Meiyappan yet, who can play the perfect second fiddle to leggie Yuzvendra Chahal during the nets sessions.
Ahmed Raza has scored 384 runs and picked up 64 wickets in 31 ODIs and 41 T20Is, while Meiyappan has picked up six wickets from four ODIs.