Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will kick off this season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in a highly safe, bio-secure environment while fostering a bubble ecosystem that will ensure the psychological, physical and emotional well-being of the squad, a statement from the franchise said on Thursday.
RCB have strengthened the support-staff for this season by recruiting sports psychologist Chaitanya Sridhar and specialist team-doctor in Charles Minz.
From a safety perspective, the RCB team has put together very stringent guidelines which are in adherence to the health and safety protocols issued by BCCI. This is to ensure highest levels of safety for the players and staff, the statement added.
These guidelines include testing for COVID-19 at three levels and an advance quarantine of Indian players before they take off for Dubai. The team there will be undergoing six-day isolation and three COVID-19 tests again before entering a bio bubble.
To secure the bubble further, a whole wing is blocked at Waldrof Astoria Dubai Palm exclusively for the team.
Dedicated facilities like gym, team room, lift, separate AC duct and a restaurant will be permanently reserved for exclusive use of the team.
On the preparation of the team, Sanjeev Churiwala, RCB Chairman, said: "RCB's biggest strength lies in love and support the team gets from their fans and this is going to be a very different season where there will be no crowds cheering in the stadiums and no fans crowding the streets chanting their wishes."
"Also, the team is going to be isolated in a bio bubble for over two months, making it imperative that we implement all necessary measures for their physical and mental wellbeing. We have always strived to create a culture of excellence at RCB, and in a year like this, it is even more important that we give all the right support to the team so that they can walk into the stadiums roaring as true challengers," he added.
RCB team will reach Dubai on August 21 and start a three-week camp with Indian and international players in collaboration with Mike Hesson and Simon Katich from August 29 onwards.
The tournament will start from September 19 and will be played across three venues in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah till November 10.