KT Exclusive: All eight IPL 2020 teams behaving responsibly in bio-bubble, says Delhi Capitals CEO
Dhiraj Malhotra doffed his hat to the UAE authorities for leaving no stone unturned to make the 13th edition of the cash-rich league a safe one.
The Delhi Capitals have shown their gratitude to the UAE for creating the safest environment to stage the Indian Premier League (IPL) in these shores.
A tournament that looked unlikely to see the light of the day this year has now been provided with the perfect stage in a bio-secure environment to leave a legacy for sports amid a raging pandemic.
And Dhiraj Malhotra, the CEO of the Delhi Capitals, doffed his hat to the UAE authorities for leaving no stone unturned to make the 13th edition of the cash-rich league a safe one.
"The facilities here are absolutely superb. I have to acknowledge the efforts taken by the BCCI, the UAE government and the Emirates Cricket Board to make this tournament happen. I am sure this tournament will bring happiness to the people," Malhotra told Khaleej Times during an interview.
"It's a challenge of course (to be in a bio-secure bubble). But everyone is taking all the precautions."
Malhotra says everyone is behaving responsibly to make sure the efforts taken by the Indian cricket board and the UAE government don't go in vain.
"It is a big challenge (to play the event in a bio-secure environment). It's probably the biggest challenge that we have had. But thanks to the efforts taken by the BCCI and everyone involved, and everyone are in the same boat, the BCCI and all the eight teams," he said.
"Everybody is behaving responsibly, I think that itself is motivating. Of course, we you have to remain in the bubble. But the good thing is we have the team room and we have made sure players have lot of activities to do.
"It can't be only about cricket, after all, these are young boys. So, we are doing lot of activities while maintaining the social distancing protocols. Yes, it's been challenging, but everyone, is helping us on this."
Of course, having the iconic Ricky Ponting as the head coach has helped a team that is looking to win its maiden IPL title.
"Ricky is such an inspiration. He is an inspiration as a player and as a coach. He is at the training doing maximum work, he puts a lot of importance on team bonding," Malhotra said.
"Even if there is one player is an optional training, Ricky is there to help him. So that's Ricky. He has been a huge inspiration for the boys."
What has also inspired the Delhi team is Kagiso Rabada's return to training.
"He is raring to go. He still has the same fire. Yes, he hadn't bowled for a long time, but then no one has due to the current situation. The coaches were happy to see him back in training," he said.
"Having said that, we have also got some great fast bowlers in Ishant Sharma and Anrich Nortje. But if you look at IPL, all the teams look great on paper. So it's all about who plays better on the day."
And the Delhi Capitals know the 25-year-old Shreyas Iyer has what it takes to lead a team featuring veteran players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan.
"Actually he took over the captaincy in the middle of the 2018 season. He has gained lot of experience and he has matured a lot," Malhotra said.
"I know he is very young, but he has got a wonderfully calm head on his shoulders. We are very confident that he will lead the team very well this season."
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