Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik conceded that the road might be full of obstacles keeping in mind the difficult times due to the Covid-19 pandemic where the players have mostly spent their time confined to home.
KKR on Friday confirmed that their contingent of Indian players and support staff have arrived in Abu Dhabi, and well settled at a plush hotel.
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will start from September 19 in the UAE.
“This IPL will be different. What has happened in the world has pained us deeply and it is surely a challenge to play cricket. But we understand that when we play the game, we bring happiness to our fans,” veteran wicketkeeper batsman Karthik said in a statement posted on kkr.in.
“Yes, there will be a bio bubble. Yes, we haven’t played or trained extensively for the last few months. Yes, the road ahead may be full of obstacles. But we promise to give it all,” said Karthik.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav added: “Initially, it was very tough to adjust when the lockdown was imposed, because we were unable to practice outdoors. But I am completely ready now. In fact, I will be happy if there is a match in the next 7 days! I can’t wait to get back in action.”
Shubman Gill was equally pumped to get back on the field.
“I think we all are really desperate (to play) because for a long time, we were in our houses and we have only been prepping mentally. We all are really excited. I’m very excited to go out there and express myself,” he said.
Indian pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna stressed on how important the next few weeks were going to be for them to get back in the groove for the season.
“It won’t be an easy year. Playing cricket after being locked up in the house for over 5 months is going to be quite a different experience. The players will have to be inside a bio bubble throughout the tournament which means they can’t step out beyond designated zones, nor they can come in touch with outsiders. Even as friends, we have to maintain distance. No hugging, no high fives,” said Prasidh.
“The last four-five months at home have really taught me how important cricket is for me,” Warrier pointed out.
Mavi echoed his thoughts and said, “No one has played cricket for the last 5 months. I haven’t played the sport for a year now. But I am ready for the IPL and can’t wait to play for KKR again.”
Nagarkoti, who missed 2018 and 2019 seasons due to injuries, was raring to go.
“I’ve waited for this moment for the past two years. Now that I’ll get to play, I’m very excited,” he said.
KKR has roped in Srikanth Narayanaswamy as the team physician. He, along with Kamlesh Jain, our Head physio, and Chris Donaldson, the strength & conditioning coach, will be looking after the squad.