IPL 2020: Respect to the UAE for allowing the IPL to take place: Mumbai Indians
Aditya Tare, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Quinton de Kock speak about the excellent health and safety protocols put in place by the authorities
The UAE welcomed the Indian Premier League (IPL) with open arms during these unprecedented times and defending champions the Mumbai Indians are grateful to the country for providing the world's most popular cricket league the opportunity.
The raging Covid-19 pandemic in India had meant that this season's running of the league had looked bleak.
But, the UAE, which had been leading from the forefront, right from the beginning, in the fight against the pandemic, gave the IPL more than a glimmer of hope.
Now that it is a reality and as the days near for this season's opener between the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, some of the Mumbai Indians players expressed their gratitude to the UAE and the excellent health and safety protocols that have been put in place by the authorities here.
"You've got to respect this country, UAE, for allowing our league to be happening here in this current world scenario," said wicketkeeper-batsman Aditya Tare.
"And we've got to consider ourselves fortunate and be grateful for this opportunity," he added.
The 32-year-old Tare, one of the leading lights of the title-winning Mumbai Ranji team, said that the new normal, which involves quarantine, PCR tests and staying in a bio-bubble, is a small price to pay for them to be allowed to play.
"These small things will come, the safety norms or whatever, you've got to follow. You've got to do what you've got to do, I guess. At the end of the day, I'm happy that we are getting the opportunity to play the IPL," said Tare, who is in his second spell with the four-time champions after stints with Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals).
"Every one of us is happy to do it. At the end of the day, you are getting to play the sport that you love," he added.
Meanwhile, Australian fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, who has returned to the Mumbai Indians after one season in 2013, said that the squad has embraced the protocols.
As a team, we've been really good. Mumbai seems to have really embraced the protocols and the restrictions in place because obviously they are for everyone's safety," said Coulter-Nile.
"So, I think we have accepted and realised the masks, the social distancing. Everyone's doing the right thing. Personally, obviously coming from Perth and we don't have any restrictions there. So, just trying to get used to those sorts of things. Get used to wearing a mask, get used to keeping my distance. We are under some pretty strict conditions but at least we are outdoors, training, a bit of fresh air, getting the body moving again. It's been really good," he added.
Coulter-Nile, who was brought for $1.1 million from the Kolkata Knight Riders, believed that they will ride this out together once a vaccine is found.
"This is just the new normal. We will get through this and I'm sure there will be a vaccine soon and we can all get back to life as usual," said the 32-year-old, who has taken 52 wickets in 32 ODIs and 34 scalps in 28 T20Is.
South African captain Quinton de Kock said that he is slowly getting used to the new normal.
"It's a bit of a change. It's been probably only my second or third training during lockdown or isolation times. It's been very different, taking a while to get used to. That's just the new normal and we will just go with it," said de Kock.