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IPL 2020: KKR may not be playing at Eden Gardens, but it is where our heart is, says Dinesh Karthik

New Delhi, Aug 21: This year's Indian Premier League (IPL) is going to be challenging for all the teams because they will be playing in foreign conditions and Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Dinesh Karthik believes the lack of extensive training will be a factor ahead of the tournament but the two-time champions will give their "all" to make their fans proud in the event.

Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab players arrived in Dubai on Thursday (August 20) evening while KKR landed in Abu Dhabi at night. The 13th edition of IPL is going to be held in the UAE, starting September 19.

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The players will be confined to their hotel rooms and only after three rounds of testing they will begin training for the T20 league shifted to UAE due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This IPL will be different. What has happened in the world has pained us deeply and it is surely a challenge to play cricket. But we understand that when we play the game, we bring happiness to our fans," Karthik told the KKR website.

"Yes, there will be a bio bubble. Yes, we haven't played or trained extensively for the last few months. Yes, the road ahead may be full of obstacles. But we promise to give it all," said Karthik.

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KKR will miss the crowd support they get at Eden Gardens but Karthik believes that every player will keep the iconic venue in his heart while playing in the UAE.

"We may not be playing this year at our home Eden Gardens, but it is where our heart is. As we embark on our journey to the UAE, with slight nervousness and immense enthusiasm, we seek your (fans') blessings."

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KKR spinner Kuldeep Yadav admitted the lockdown had taken a toll on him.

"Initially, it was very tough to adjust when the lockdown was imposed, because we were unable to practice outdoors. But I am completely ready now. In fact, I will be happy if there is a match in the next 7 days! I can't wait to get back in action," said Yadav.

Talented top-order batsman Shubman Gill was equally pumped to get back on the field.

"I think we all are really desperate (to play) because for a long time, we were in our houses and we have only been prepping mentally. We all are really excited. I'm very excited to go out there and express myself," the 20-year-old said.

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KKR's Indian pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna stressed how important the next few weeks were going to be for them to get back in the groove for the season.

"It won't be an easy year. Playing cricket after being locked up in the house for over 5 months is going to be quite a different experience.

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"The players will have to be inside a bio bubble throughout the tournament which means they can't step out beyond designated zones, nor they can come in touch with outsiders. Even as friends, we have to maintain distance. No hugging, no high fives," Prasidh said.

"The last four-five months at home have really taught me how important cricket is for me," Warrier pointed out.

Nagarkoti, who missed the 2018 and 2019 seasons due to injuries, is also raring to go.

(With PTI inputs)

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Story first published: Friday, August 21, 2020, 20:59 [IST]
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