As the Indian contingent of the Kolkata Knight Riders set-up reached the UAE and settled into their team base at an Abu Dhabi hotel, Dinesh Karthik, the captain, promised "to give it all" despite the players - like others from India and many other parts of the world - not having played any competitive cricket in recent memory.
"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," Karthik was quoted as saying by the Knight Riders website. "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."
There will not be any practice sessions straightaway, as the squad complies with the quarantine requirements and SOPs and protocols put in place by the IPL Governing Council, but the players sounded gung-ho about getting down to business at the earliest opportunity.
"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," left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav said. "In fact, I will be happy if there is a match in the next seven days! I can't wait to get back in action."
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It's going to be a different season, and we are hungry for some action We will miss you, #Kolkata. Until next time.... আবার দেখা হবে @itcmaratha @itchotels #KorboLorboJeetbo #IPL2020 #DK #ShubmanGill #VarunChakravarthy #PrasidhKrishna #KuldeepYadav #NitishRana #RinkuSingh #ShivamMavi #SandeepWarrier #KamleshNagarkoti #SiddharthManimaran #Dream11IPL
"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," Shubman Gill, the 20-year-old batsman who coach Brendon McCullum has marked as a part of the leadership group in the team, said.
The IPL will start on September 19, with last year's finalists Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, and Chennai Super Kings facing off, but the final list of fixtures, to be played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, has not been made public yet.