Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli impressed on his teammates the need to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols, in the team’s first virtual meeting after landing in Dubai.

In a meeting attended by over 30 RCB players and staff, Kohli stated that if a player violates the rules during the course of the IPL, he would be letting the team down.

“I expect everyone to be on the same page in terms of securing the bubble, and making sure that nothing is compromised. One mistake from any of us could spoil the entire tournament. None of us want that,” Kohli said in the meeting, posted on RCB’s Twitter handle.

Letting team down

“In my opinion, if someone was to end up in that situation (breaking a rule), he is letting the whole team down. It might happen at a stage when we can’t afford to lose that player.

“If we get harmed by his absence, then the whole team, system, and culture loses. I want everyone to understand the repercussions if someone violates any of the rules,” Kohli stated.

RCB, or indeed any franchise, will be keen to avoid a repeat of a breach that occurred in England recently. The England-West Indies Test series, held in a similar bio-secure bubble setting, saw England pacer Jofra Archer being fined and warned for making an unauthorised visit to his home in Hove. An in-from Archer was forced to miss the second Test as he had to undergo five days of isolation and testing.

RCB Director of Cricket Operations Mike Hesson explained that a wilful breach of the rules “will be dealt with very seriously”, while an accidental breach will result in the player going into a seven-day isolation period. The player will have to repeat the COVID-19 testing before he can re-enter the bubble, Hesson added.

As Kohli alluded to, “if someone breaks this bubble — that we have worked incredibly hard to put in place — it affects the whole tournament. It’s not just about RCB, it’s about the tournament’s television rights… So there will be strong consequences if players break the rules,” Hesson said.

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