Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli emphasised how an “acceptance” of the bio-bubble reality and being appreciative of what is in front of them has made all players relaxed.
Interacting during a virtual press conference organised by the franchise, Kohli revealed that despite the restrictions the team was not “cranky” or “desperate”.
“Acceptance is the biggest change that I've experienced,” Kohli said on how his experience has been in the secure environment so far. “Even in this bio bubble, the first time we spoke, we wanted to be appreciative of the things that are in front of you. It's very easy to think of the things that we're not able to do at this moment, but we've accepted that this is what we need to do, this is what we are a part of.
“All of us have become really relaxed in this environment because of acceptance. If we were not accepting of this environment, then you would see people get sad or cranky but I've not seen anything like that. There is no desperation of any sort. That's been the biggest learning of the whole pandemic."
RCB also thanked the COVID warriors and revealed that they will have ‘My COVID Heroes’ inscribed on their jerseys throughout the tournament. Sanjay Churiwala, Chairman of RCB also said that the jerseys worn by the RCB players at the opening match of the IPL will be auctioned and the proceeds will be donated to the Give India foundation.
Kohli paid his gratitude to the management and the COVID warriors stating that a lot of people have gone out of their way to make the team feel safe.
"In the past, you don't think about these things because you plan to come to the IPL and start the tournament. But this time to see how our own management has created a secure space for us here, and the small details with which they have executed things make you appreciate their work even more," he said.
“We have started feeling so safe in this environment and the bubble, and that can happen only when people go out of their way to make you safe. It has to come from a very selfless space. That's across every other team and the whole tournament in general. Just to make a tournament of this scale in these times, I'm sure there are very, very difficult things being done on an hourly basis which we don't see. We just go and practice and do what we love, but I think it's important to be appreciative of the fact that someone has put in effort to make this a reality for you.
"Hence precisely our first chat was about this. One person's mistake could bring everything down. So we should be mindful and appreciative.”
The fervour and the vibrancy of the crowd makes the IPL an even special event but this year owing to the pandemic there will not be any public available to watch the tournament.
Kohli admitted that not having crowds in the stadium will be strange but was confident the intensity levels of the team will not drop because of it.
"All of us have thought of playing in empty stadiums. Of course, it's going to be a strange feeling, I won't deny that. But the feeling has changed a little after the practice sessions and the practice games. At the end of the day, you understand you started playing the sport for the love of it. Now you have the chance to present that love when the whole country and world is watching, and that will bring joy," he said.
"Crowds are an amazing part of any sport, but that's not what you play for eventually. You play for the right reasons which it to play as a team passionately together and for the love of the game. Crowd is a part of your journey when they're watching you. Our core reasons will remain the same from when we started playing as kids. Our intensity levels or passion will not drop because there are no crowds. There's a larger reason for the situation now and we'll stay true to that."
RCB start their campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday (September 21).