Play it safe: Hitman's thumbs up says it all
Defending champions the Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Chennai Super Kings touchdown in the UAE
Oh, well! Hello there! Two of the biggest superstars of world cricket graced the UAE with their presence on Friday, sending Dubai into a bit of a frenzy.
Just as the mercury hit a high, former Indian captain MS Dhoni and incumbent Virat Kohli turned it up a notch following their arrival for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Mumbai Indians were the first to check-in on the day with the 'Hitman' Rohit Sharma and his lads jetting into Abu Dhabi at 2.30 p.m local time.
They then headed off to their team hotel - the St.Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, overlooking the pristine and turquoise Arabian Sea, which will be their home for the entire duration of the tournament.
Then, Kohli and his men flew in from the IT capital Bangalore to Dubai. And they looked more like a SWAT team on a mission, with their red and black livery, and face shields.
The squad included all of their Indian players with their South African recruits - AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Chris Morris set to arrive on Saturday. The squad also has five net bowlers.
On landing at the Dubai International Airport, they underwent Covid-19 tests like all other teams, before checking-in to the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah.
Later in the evening, Dhoni and his 'Daddies Army' of the Chennai Super Kings arrived in Dubai. They then checked into the Taj Hotel, overlooking the towering Burj Khalifa.
Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders, who had touched down in the UAE capital on Thursday night, have settled down well at The Ritz Carlton.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik echoed the sentiments of Rajasthan Royals' batsman Ajinkya Rahane by saying that this will be a very different IPL and that it will be quite a challenge to play cricket with the Covid-19 pandemic lurking in the background.
But, on the flipside, the wicketkeeper batsman said that the tournament will bring some kind of cheer during these gloomy times.
?? Mask ?- KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) August 21, 2020
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Knights are #IPL2020 ready. Read More: https://t.co/gbYecQouRO#KKR #KolkataKnightRiders #KorboLorboJeetbo #Cricket #Dream11IPL
"This IPL will be different. What has happened in the world has pained us deeply and it is surely a challenge to play cricket," said Karthik.
"But we understand that when we play the game, we bring happiness to our fans. 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," added the 35-year-old.
Delhi Capitals opener Prithvi Shaw said that they will be training to the hilt to get into the groove for the tournament.
"All of us at Delhi Capitals play together as a team, and approach everything as one unit. We know people have a lot of expectations from us, but our focus will be on making the most of the training sessions we get in the UAE, and re-creating that fantastic team environment which made us so successful last year. We also have the chance to gel with the new players and then set our sights on the IPL season," said Shaw, who led India to the title at the Under-19 World Cup in 2018.
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