IPL 2020: Playing in UAE will be a challenge for Indian cricketers, feels Rohit Sharma
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma says adapting to conditions in UAE will be crucial as many Indian players have little or no experience of playing in the Gulf
For the globe-trotting Indian cricketers, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been relatively an unknown destination. Cricket in this region was on India's banned list ever since the 2000 match fixing saga rocked world and Indian cricket.
Though world-class cricketing venues came up at Abu Dhabi and Dubai to join Sharjah, the BCCI refused to play any tournament in the desert.
In 2014, the Indian board was forced to consider UAE as a venue after the first half of the IPL [20 matches] was moved out of India as it clashed with the general elections. That was the first time Indian cricketers [international and domestic] got a taste of UAE conditions.
The second time was in 2018 when India's top 18 cricketers figured in the Asia Cup.
The BCCI was again forced to move the IPL to UAE, this time in totality, given the grim COVID-19 pandemic scenario in India.
With little knowledge and experience of pitches in the UAE, the Indian cricketers will be put to the test. Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma felt communication and knowledge would be the key. "It will be a challenge for us to adapt to these conditions, which probably none of us are used to. Not a lot of cricketers from our group have played here. But it is important to share that information and we have clearly spoken about this. Communication is going to be the key. Depending on the pitch, one has to plan your game whether in batting or bowling. We have had a good chat about that as a group," Rohit told reporters at a virtual press conference from Abu Dhabi on Thursday as the defending champions prepare to take on Chennai Super Kings in the IPL-13 opener on Saturday.
Rohit, who captained India to victory in the 2018 Asia Cup, said: "Eventually, the pitches here are going to play a big part and to understand that, adapt quickly and play to your potential. Playing according to what is being asked is very crucial here. We played the Asia Cup a couple of years back here and I certainly experienced a lot of difference in how the pitch behaved in the first game and the final. So, we certainly expect the same here as it is going to be a long tournament. The slowness of the pitch will be a big factor. Reading the pitches and giving that information to the team will be critical as well," he added.
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