India captain wants administrators to reconsider the schedule considering the bubble life
Virat Kohli will join the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad on April 1, two days after the team begins their training camp in Chennai. The Royal Challengers will play their initial set of matches, including the IPL tournament opener on April 9 against defending champions Mumbai Indians, in the city.
It is understood that Kohli would need to undergo the mandatory week-long quarantine put in place by the IPL as part the guidelines to operate in the bio-secure environment. On Monday, Kohli quit the bubble in Pune after India’s ODI series against England, which got over on Sunday.
Kohli has been part of bio-secure bubbles since the end of January, ahead of the England series, and has been part of each of the four Tests, five T20Is and three ODIs. Now, he will be part of his IPL franchise set-up within two days of India finishing their international home assignments.
The schedule continues to be relentless post the IPL, too, as India will enter a bubble soon after ahead of their departure to England in June for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand. That would be followed by a five-Test series in England. India are then scheduled to return home to prepare for the T20 World Cup, to be played in October-November at home.
On Sunday, soon after winning the ODI series in Pune, Kohli underlined the need for administrators to look at the scheduling, keeping in consideration player movements from one bubble to another in a challenging environment because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Scheduling needs to be looked at in future, because playing in bubbles for so long, two to three months, is going to be very, very difficult going forward,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation. “You can’t expect everyone to be at the same level of mental strength.
“Sometimes you do get cooked and you do feel like a bit of a change. I am sure things will be discussed and things will change in the future as well. But a different tournament, it brings fresh challenges heading into the IPL.”
Meanwhile, the pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Siraj, who flew to Chennai from Pune on Monday afternoon, would be available to training from Tuesday. The IPL guidelines allow players travelling between bubbles to skip the quarantine and start training.
A healthy proportion of the Royal Challengers, who finished fourth in IPL 2020, reached Chennai last week. This group included the team director Mike Hesson, Sanjay Bangar, (appointed as assistant coach from this season), along with fast bowler Navdeep Saini. Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers, too, reached Chennai over the weekend.