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'Face the UAE heat and play well': Suresh Raina on playing IPL 2020 after 4-5 months of being in lockdown

Indian cricketer Suresh Raina said he is "very excited" to play in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), however, said the heat and that all will be out after 4-5 months of being in lockdown would be challenging.

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'Face the UAE heat and play well': Suresh Raina on playing IPL 2020 after 4-5 months of being in lockdown
IPL 2020: Suresh Raina reveals 'big challenge' of playing in UAE
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Indian cricketer Suresh Raina said he is "very excited" to play in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), however, said the heat and that all will be out after 4-5 months of being in lockdown would be challenging.

"Very excited, taking a flight after 5-6 months making me feel that I am back on track. Playing in the UAE will be interesting since we have played there before. UAE is known for the great hospitality and they have the experience for putting up big sporting events, so I am really looking forward to that," Raina told ANI.

"...I think heat would be a big challenge and coming out of these 4-5 months of being in lockdown. But these four weeks of training before IPL can really get everyone back on track. I am really looking forward to going out there, face the UAE heat and play well," he added.

The 2020 edition of the IPL will be played in the UAE from September 19 - November 10.

The IPL's Governing Council (GC) met on Sunday via video-conference to discuss issues pertaining to the IPL 2020 edition. The 13th edition of the T20 tournament will be staged at three venues (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah) in the UAE. Raina, who plays for Chennai Super Kings in the league, admitted that the past few months were difficult not just for cricket but for all sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think the past five months have been tough not just for cricket but for all sports. Mental toughness is the key. Fitness will also play an important part since Dubai is hot and I would say whoever has worked hard during the lockdown will overcome this situation but we do have a lot of time before the IPL starts and we will have time to go there and meet our teammates and start preparing," he said.

Stressing over the importance of everybody's health, Raina said, "I think the test has to be done as the safety of the players and safety of the tournament is very important. I am sure the UAE government would have planned this ahead very nicely. We should all go through that so as we can play freely and not just take care of our teammates but also for our families. This way we can free our minds and play freely on the field." 

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