Bold diaries: Quarantine over, game begins!
Seven days is a long-long time if you are locked inside the room, not allowed to meet your teammates living in the same hotel, and have to live with almost zero interaction with the outside world. After all, for how long can phone calls and digital content be your companion to keep the lull at bay!
But what has to be done is to be done, in the interest of everybody involved and a much-prized tournament – the IPL. RCB players, like thorough professionals under a disciplined and understanding captain, and an amazing group of support staff, pulled off the 'first phase' of the tour with perfection.
After testing negative for the third time within a week, the team finally got some fresh air while remaining inside the bubble. But as if the idea of stepping out of the rooms and meeting your friends was not thrilling enough, the team organized an evening of fun and frolic followed by a dinner at the beach which has been designated ‘exclusively for the use of Royal Challengers Bangalore’.
Inside the bio-bubble, the arrangements have been top-class; the game room which left every individual with a beaming smile that did not leave their faces for the rest of the evening is equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities.
A golf and cricket simulator, table tennis, pool table, and a plethora of other options with massage chairs and comforts of the highest quality, the management has created a wonder world inside the hotel exclusively for the challengers.
The swimming pool, the tennis court, and a gymnasium – that’s regularly sanitized – the compensation for those seven days is as hefty as the players would have imagined.
A footy tournament, then a table-tennis match-up under the watchful eyes of strength and conditioning coach Shanker Basu and sports psychologist Chaitanya Sridhar, the players welcomed the first day post quarantine in the sportiest manner possible.
However, the team remained committed to the guidelines even as the players let the comforts of the evening and sounds of the waves envelope them. The three South African players who were a day short of completing the quarantine waved from their balconies to their teammates who were out in open after a week.
As the sun set over Burj Al Arab in distance, the evening gradually moved to a calm and scenic set-up with music, food, chats, and catching up beside the beach. A cake cutting ceremony for Virat Kohli- Anushka Sharma, who recently announced their pregnancy to the world, and Yuzvendra Chahal who was engaged a few weeks ago - the team meticulously organized private evening on the eve of team’s first practice of the season.
A secure world within the hotel has been at players’ disposal. The first evening post quarantine was spent away from cricket to get a hang of how different yet entertaining life is going to be for the next few weeks. But amid all this, the focus has remained on the most important aspect – cricket and the tournament that has brought everyone to the shores of the UAE.