BENGALURU: The Indian Premier League 2020 is going to be a stern test for players in the United Arab Emirates. They will have to brave the tough weather conditions and more importantly stay in the bio bubble amidst some strict protocols. So the 13th edition will be challenging at both the physical and mental level.
Being miles away from their loved ones means that many players have to consider their respective franchises as their immediate family for the next two months. Teams also understand the situation and have made some special arrangements with fun activities in place to lend a positive atmosphere.
And Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper, David Warner, who played the England-Australia series in a bio-secure environment, spoke about the challenges ahead. “Staying in a bubble is very challenging. I have got my three girls and my wife at home, and it is always going to be a big challenge to be away from them,” the skipper said in a virtual press conference.
“The conditions are going to be like that of Chennai and Kolkata. It is going to be humid, will be challenging. Obviously, other than that, getting stuck inside a hotel, that means we have to definitely look out for each other, also look after mental health and well-being. We have to see how we keep interacting with each other, with some fun games inside the team room and other activities that we can keep ourselves and the mental side of things fresh.”
Though these off-field challenges will test teams, Hyderabad might not be worried once the IPL season starts with Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday. They have been one of the most consistent teams, winning the league in 2016, reaching the playoffs in the last three editions, including a runners-up finish in 2018.
They resemble a good unit in UAE, where spinners will play a big role. The pitch will be overused, and the slower track may suit Hyderabad, who have established Afghanistan spinners – Rashid Khan, who scalped 17 wickets last season, Mohammad Nabi, Fabien Allen and Shahbaz Nadeem in their ranks. Pacers like Sandeep Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar can also use their variations to yield positive results.
But, their biggest strength lies in the top order, which includes Warner, England’s Jonny Bairstow and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson. The first two scored 692 and 445 last season respectively. If there is a concern, it is their middle order. Hyderabad lack big names as they will be dependent on Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar and Mitchell Marsh. Hence, this season too, the onus might be on the three foreign batsmen.
“You can say that (dependent on overseas batsmen) about every team in the tournament. All teams have got some world class overseas players with a good mix of Indian players. It is one of those things, where you have to back yourselves and your ability. Obviously, our team has a make up of three overseas batsmen and we have all-rounders, who can bowl spin, out and out quick in Billy (Stanlake), Mitch (Mitchell Marsh) is also there. We have got a balanced match up for all venues,” added Warner.
Warner hopeful of crowds on India tour of Australia
After the IPL gets over, the much awaited India’s tour Down Under will also take shape and Warner hopes that some spectators will be allowed in Australia.
“It is going to be great for world cricket that we can play in Australia. Hopefully, there is going to be some crowds available, as there have been crowds in the football games. I think 25 percent of the capacity can go and watch. That would obviously be awesome,” said Warner.
But that will also pose a challenge as it will be played in a bio-secure environment. “Given the fact that we cannot go outside, it is going to be very difficult to maintain it. We have to be smart and put our hands up if we feel that things are getting a bit too challenging and need some time out.”