Kings XI Punjab director of cricket operations Anil Kumble is eager to manage the players' anxiety ahead of the 2020 Indian Premier League.
This year's edition of the tournament will be played in the United Arab Emirates, without spectators and amid strict safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The most important aspect one needs to look at is the anxiety factor. Everybody is anxious. They want to go out and play. You have to sort of pull them back because it's been four months of not doing enough and you cannot go out there and put in your 100% from day one. It's going to be tough for the players to get match ready, we'll build up to it,” Kumble was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
“We play a few practice games and that should give them enough confidence. I think it's all about trying to build their confidence and then saying, ‘okay, you're ready'. That takes a bit of time. The advantage we have is that we have enough experience in the support team and someone like physiotherapist Andrew Leipus and strength and conditioning coach Adrian le Roux understand these kinds of situations.”
Maxwell Late to the Party
The Kings XI Punjab will be without all-rounder Glenn Maxwell for the start of the 2020 IPL. Maxwell has been named in Australia's squad for a brief limited-overs tour of England.
This will coincide with the opening week of the IPL 2020. The Punjab squad will also feature West Indies batsman Nicolas Pooran, who will be involved in this month's Caribbean Premier League in Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are trying to build certain activities which will keep them busy. There'll be some fun and team bonding exercises as well. There is a six-day quarantine as we land, which means for that period we sit in a room, not see each other. We are planning some activities so we will find a way of engaging them and keeping them in a happy space,” added Kumble.
The IPL was also hosted in the UAE in 2014. The Kings XI Punjab have never won the IPL, which started in 2008. The Mumbai Indians are the reigning champions.