Having signed for Gokulam Kerala FC for the upcoming I-League season, centre-back Deepak Devrani believes the move comes at a point in his career where he is eyeing a return to the Indian national team.
Devrani, who has won the I-League twice in the past, also outlined how he kept fit during the COVID-induced lockdown, which halted sporting events all over the world.
"Let me state that I am so grateful to the team management, our sponsors, supporters, all officials and everyone in Kerala who have enabled us to come here and start our season. It has not been easy for anyone but the support we have received so far has made our arrival, and settling in has been outstanding," Deepak Devrani told i-league.org.
"My goals in the immediate term are to make sure I am season-ready and at the top of my fitness, get to know my teammates, coach, management, and to adapt to the new normal so that we all work together to make our way to the top match by match. My personal goal is to make it back into the national team and to represent India," he admitted.
Deepak Devrani was a part of the very first batch of the Indian Arrows team almost a decade ago. It comprised solely of young Indian players who got valuable game time and experience in India's top-tier league.
Deepak Devrani shares his fitness routine during lockdown
Having made various appearances for the Indian team in the youth setup and age-group categories, Deepak Devrani now hopes for a bright future with the senior national team. And for that, the work ethic that Devrani displayed during the lockdown will eventually be what will stand him in good stead.
Speaking about his regime, Deepak Devrani said, "During the lockdown, I tried to maintain a training routine as much as possible, at least in the variety and style of the training. I would do a mix of weights focusing on different areas, continue ball drills using a wall and try to do as much cardio as I could at home without going out.
"I used to go to the roof so as not to disturb neighbours. Then I used to do strengthening for two days. Since I did not have a lot of gym equipment at home, I needed to get a bit creative in my workouts and also use simple things that l could find at home. I had heavy pot plants that I would carry like weights. I would use buckets and a chair. I would do agility work on the rooftop using my slippers as markers to do zigzag and other drills," he elaborated.
Ready to cooperate and do whatever needed to stay safe: Deepak Devrani
The I-League will kick off amid strict COVID-19 guidelines, and players are currently having to follow strict restrictions after being in precautionary quarantine. It is a very different experience for all players but Deepak Devrani pledged to do everything needed for safety while documenting how they are training.
"The first couple of weeks were a bit tough because we were finally all together as a team in one building but since we were in precautionary quarantine, we could not meet physically, only on the screen when we did online training sessions together. So far, the on-the-ground training has been great but this is also because we have a team of people looking out for our health and well-being.
"Once we reach the stadium, we have to sit maintaining some distance between us while we lace up our boots. Balls are not allowed yet so we are maintaining distance while running. It is difficult but we are happy that we are allowed to train and play. We are ready to cooperate and do whatever we need to do to stay safe and keep others safe.
"We also know that this is for our health and for those around us. If anyone gets coronavirus, we know that it may be fatal so we will maintain distance, also because we don’t want to miss another 14 days of training for being in isolation," Deepak Devrani signed off.
The 14th edition of the I-League will begin on January 9 in Kolkata with 11 teams taking part.Published 13 Nov 2020, 20:22 IST