Dubai: It was "steaming" outside as the South African trio of AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Chris Morris arrived in Dubai during the wee hours of Saturday to join their Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates for the upcoming IPL.
Moved out of India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 13th edition of the T20 league will be played across the three venues of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE from 19 September to 10 November.
The video of their arrival was shared by RCB on their official Twitter handle.
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) August 22, 2020
"I am very excited, very happy to be here. Travelling was bit different to normal but we have made it here with my South African friends and we are very happy to be back in the RCB family. I am looking forward to my COVID-19 test," de Villiers said.
All the Indian players from the star-studded Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians touched down in the UAE on Friday for the world's biggest T20 league.
"It's going to be interesting to play in the heat. We got here like 3 am in the morning and it was steaming outside. Looking forward to what's it going to be like in a few weeks," said veteran speedster Steyn.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli made his own arrangements to reach Dubai directly from Mumbai following all BCCI SOP.
On arrival, Morris said he was feeling a bit nervous.
"It's been quite a while that we have played the game that we love. So yeah very challenging but we are very excited to get going, a little bit nervous too to be honest," Morris said.
Considering that the safety of the players and other members of the travelling party is the franchise's top priority, RCB have booked one entire wing of a luxury hotel, adding up to 150 rooms.
The players are not allowed to venture out of their rooms during the six-day isolation period.
The players, who were already tested multiple times before departure, are undergoing a six-day isolation period with testing on days one, three and six. If they clear all the tests, they will be eligible to enter the tournament's bio-bubble and start training.
Subsequently, the players and support staff will be tested every fifth day of the tournament.
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Kohli's announcement comes on the back of his decision to step down as India's T20 captain.
Kohli along with other Indian players refused to take the field in the fifth Test against England at Old Trafford, after junior physio Yogesh Parmar became the fourth close-contact support staff to test positive for COVID-19.
Virat Kohli's announcement on Sunday, that he will step down as captain of RCB at the end of the current season, came as no surprise to many on Twitter. Here's how Twitter users reacted: