Rajasthan Royals (RR) captain Steve Smith said he is gearing up for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in UAE, but also mentioned how "disappointing" it was to know that the tournament won't be held in its homeland.
Originally due to kickstart on March 29, the IPL 2020 couldn't go ahead in its traditional window due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
But with the postponement of the T20 World Cup inadvertently helping BCCI get another slot in the calendar for its showpiece event, IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel said it will be played from September 19 to November 8 in UAE, which has also been communicated to the franchises.
Smith said it will take time for teams to adjust to the conditions and surfaces in the Middle East, but that's a minor problem, and everyone will be grateful to just get the league starting finally.
"I think part of being a professional cricketer is to adapt to any condition you are faced with and that is going to be the clear message from the coaching staff," Smith told reporters via videoconference after the special premiere of Rajasthan Royals' documentary 'Inside Story', which showcases the team's 2019 IPL campaign.
"Conditions in Dubai can be similar to what you get in India or it can be different, it's about adapting on the run to what the condition suits. A couple of players obviously have experience of playing there before. The IPL was there in 2014 I think, so a lot of people have played IPL there before."
"I think guys will be just jumping out of their skins to play some quality cricket. Obviously, it's disappointing that it's not in India. We would have absolutely loved to play there," he added.
Smith said all teams will be in the same boat as far as the preparation is concerned and that will ensure a level playing field.
"Yeah, it has been challenging. A lot of players haven't played any cricket. From that point of view, it will be an even contest."
"Everybody will be going in with the same sort of preparation which is nice. It has been incredibly different times and guys are trying to get their cricket back in any way possible.
"It certainly is going to be very exciting when IPL rolls around that's for sure."
Royals' batting sensation, Riyan Parag, was happy with the return of IPL and also said he isn't taking pressure from the media attention that has followed his exploits in the last year's edition.
"Pressure is only there if you think about it. To be honest I don't think about all these taglines, whatever the media or whatever the people say," Parag said.
"It's just going to be another year for me...I am going to start afresh, not thinking about anything and just doing what team wants me to do and play freely and showcase my abilities," he added.
Royals, the champions of the inaugural edition in 2008, finished seventh in IPL 2019 and will be hoping to make amends in the UAE this winter.
(Inputs from IANS)