Delhi Capitals squad, led by captain Shreyas Iyer, assembled in Mumbai on Thursday ahead of their departure for the United Arab Emirates where the IPL will start from September 19. After having spent most part of the past five months in their respective homes, the Delhi Capitals players reached Mumbai in batches following all the protocols and safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is no doubt that it will be a challenging trip for everyone involved. But like everyone else, I’ve spent these last few months focusing on my physical and mental health, and taking care of my family,” said Ajinkya Rahane, who is a part of the Delhi Capitals for the first time.

“So the time I’ve managed to spend with them has put me in a positive frame of mind. However, this IPL will be a very different experience for all of us, and we need to make sure that we are all very positive when we hit the ground running. The key is to take one step at a time.”

Fellow Mumbaikar and young opening batsman Prithvi Shaw echoed his teammate’s opinion.

“We have spent the past 4-5 months dealing with this pandemic, so everyone is aware of all the do’s and don’ts. We all have been preparing mentally to live and play under such circumstances, and taking all necessary precautions for our safety and well-being,” the 20-year-old said.

Speaking on how his team will be approaching the upcoming season, Shaw said, “All of us at Delhi Capitals play together as a team, and approach everything as one unit.

“We know people have a lot of expectations from us, but our focus will be on making the most of the training sessions we get in the UAE, and re-creating that fantastic team environment which made us so successful last year. We also have the chance to gel with the new players and then set our sights on the IPL season.”

Delhi Capitals will reach UAE over the weekend.

Among other teams, Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday arrived in the UAE, setting the ball rolling for an event that many thought would not take place amid the global health crisis.