Virat Kohli warning: One mistake with bio-secure bubble could wreck IPL in UAE

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain reiterates importance of sticking to health protocols ahead of tournament in the UAE

Virat Kohli warned his Royal Challengers Bangalore colleagues that one mistake "could literally spoil the whole" 2020 IPL season, as they continued to quarantine on Palm Jumeirah.

The eight franchises checked in to a variety of hotels across Dubai and Abu Dhabi at the weekend, as they prepare for the competition’s start on September 19.

As per Covid-19 advice from the tournament’s organisers, all participants will be confined to their rooms for the best part of a week upon arrival. In that time, each will be subjected to three coronavirus tests.

The quarantine regulations meant that Kohli had to conduct an RCB team meeting via Zoom on Monday, where he reiterated the importance of doing everything to ensure the bio-secure bubble that they were creating was not compromised.

“Obviously, it’s very awkward to have a welcome meeting like this, but something that we probably have to get used to quite a bit,” Kohli told his team.

“I think we have done quite well to get to Dubai firstly safe and sound. We have followed what’s been told to us.

“I would expect everyone to be on the same page in terms of securing the bubble at all times, and making sure that nothing is compromised.

“One mistake from anyone of us could literally spoil the whole tournament, and none of us would want to do that.

“I can’t wait to get to our first practice session, something that we all are going to cherish – an opportunity to create a good team culture from day one.”

Mike Hesson, the New Zealander who is the head of RCB’s coaching staff, emphasised the point by saying it was their contractual obligation to observe the protocol.

“We have a document that the BCCI has written which is basically a part of your contract,” Hesson said.

“If there is a breach of bio-bubble and if it’s a wilful act then it becomes a contractual issue between the player and RCB.

“It will be dealt with very seriously. If there is an issue where it is an accidental breach of the bubble, then the players will be removed, and they will have to be in isolation for seven days.

“They have to repeat their tests before they are allowed in the bubble again.”

Kohli said the team could not afford a player breaching the operating procedure.

“All I am saying is I think if someone was to end up in such a situation or a position, for me that’s letting the whole team down,” the India captain said.

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Gallery: IPL stars in the UAE

“Because it might happen at the stage of a tournament where we can’t afford to lose that player.

“If he does so and we get harmed by it then the whole team, the whole system, the whole culture loses.

“I just wanted to talk about this so that everyone understands the repercussions that might take place if you violate any of the rules.”

Although they are confined to their rooms, the players are at least afforded luxurious surroundings.

For example, Rajasthan Royals players each have a personal outside space with a lawn accessible from their rooms.

Kolkata Knight Riders players, meanwhile, are being run through their paces by their fitness coach, former New Zealand Olympian Chris Donaldson, with a specially tailored bedroom workout routine.

Brendon McCullum, KKR’s coach, says he has been doing his best to keep pace with the players.

“I can't ask the players to do what I can't do, right?” McCullum said. “So whilst I can't do the exercises as well as them, I certainly try to put in an effort.

“I've also heard that the shirts this year – all the practice shirts and coach’s shirts – are going to be very, very tight.

“So, I need to make sure that I am not too fat as we get into the season.”