'It’s not easy to play in empty stadiums': Guardiola to Kohli

5 days ago 6

NEW DELHI: It’s been three months since sports resumed in the world hit by the


. There’s a sense of relief amongst the market forces, satisfaction for the administrators and fans are back glued to sports. Players - the most important factor in the sports ecosystem - have had to push that much harder to get the business of live sport back on its feet.
On Wednesday,

Virat Kohli

and Manchester City manager

Pep Guardiola

came together to give a peek into the struggles of playing in current circumstances. Living in a bio-bubble aside, the

empty stadiums

have been the most difficult part. “It felt nice to be back for the first few games. But you can’t maintain the intensity after that in empty stadiums,” Guardiola told Kohli during an Instagram chat while promoting a sportswear brand. “I know there’s a lot of money involved. There are people watching at homes. But it’s not easy to play in empty stadiums. It’s going to be very tough to play like this for 11 months,” the famed manager opined.
One who is known to feed off the atmosphere in a packed arena, Kohli weighed in and revealed that his first match in the ongoing IPL dampened his spirits. “When we reached Dubai three weeks before the tournament, I was so excited. I was excited to prepare for the first game. But the moment I walked out for the first game, all of that burst. All of a sudden, I wasn’t feeling the same. The excitement was gone,” the India captain said.
In essence, Guardiola hinted that the players are now going through the motions while describing these matches as friendly games. “Matches without crowds are friendlies. It’s not the same. When there are people in the stadium, the losses hurt more and the wins feel even more special. It gets the adrenaline going and keeps the players motivated. Hopefully, things are improving now. But playing like this and keeping the players ready for 11 months will be very tough,” he claimed.
As the duo discussed the pressure situations, both of them agreed on the fact they look at a player’s character more than the skills while selecting a team. Kohli laid out his policy behind selecting a player. “People don’t realize the things needed to make a team. People go by numbers and scores. But you need to see how a player is reacting when the camera is not on him, if he is moving back to his place quickly and how he responds to situations,” he said.
Guardiola nodded in agreement. “We all know how a player plays in different positions or what his skills are. But you need to see how you perform in big matches and tough situations. The personality is important.”
Kohli wants DRS for wide balls in T20s
In another segment of the promotional programme organised by Puma, Kohli told

KL Rahul

that he would like to see an extra DRS being allowed in T20 games. “As a captain, I feel there should be a DRS to challenge wide balls and waist height no-balls. There should be a couple of reviews in T20 matches,” Kohli said. “Far too many matches are being decided by small margins. There have been some wrong wides called too,” he added.

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