Kings XI Punjab captain K.L. Rahul feels the players are quite motivated for the Indian Premier League (IPL) despite being in the strict bio-bubble in the United Arab Emirates.
“We are happy that everybody is here and is part of the team after a long wait. Every other season when we play the IPL, the players come with a lot of cricket behind them. They feel good and they know where they stand. This time, the challenge is different because we all have been indoors for a long time. So, they are very motivated,” Rahul told Sportstar from Dubai on Wednesday.
The tournament, starting September 19, will be Rahul’s first as captain of a franchise. He wants to build his side slowly and peak at the right time. “I think for the captain and the coaching group, it is very important to hold the players back a little bit because everybody is eager to do a lot of things. We have to make sure that our bodies are used to the load and we pick up the intensity slowly and peak at the right time,” he said.
Rahul praised head coach Anil Kumble and the support staff for keeping the side together. “They make sure that everybody is looked after well and we are physically and mentally ready before the first game starts. My job is to see that the boys are preparing well and have their roles clear in the head,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
During the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Rahul monitored the progress of the side by staying in touch with the trainers and before flying out, he had a camp with some of the players in Bengaluru. “I had kept in touch with most of the boys and their trainers, and the physios did a great job making sure we were physically fit and ready. But in terms of skills and outdoor training, not many players had the opportunity, so it was nice that a few of us could get the opportunity to train outside and hit a few balls,” he said.