Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has shared his experiences while travelling to Dubai from Chennai on his YouTube page. He mentioned that he had not done the amount of paperwork that he had to do at the Dubai airport since his Class XII Board exams.
While sharing that he had finally reached Dubai, Ravichandran Ashwin spoke at length about his journey from Chennai to the Emirates. He revealed that he was a little worried initially because of the BCCI directives of the players being only allowed to travel if they have tested negative.
"While I was in Chennai, I had practised for a while, wore a mask and followed social distancing. But still I had this fear deep down. Because testing negative for coronavirus was deemed crucial, as per IPL protocol. If we don't test negative, BCCI had asked us to stay home and come for IPL only when we test negative."
Ravichandran Ashwin mentioned that he had been tested in Chennai four times during a period of 10 days while adding that the arrangements were made for the entire Delhi Capitals squad to travel from Mumbai to Dubai, with no flights available from his hometown.
"In my time at home I was tested four times over 10 days, and they all returned negative. After this, they said you can't come to Dubai from Chennai since there aren't many passenger flights. So, they arranged a chartered flight from Mumbai to Dubai for the entire Delhi Capitals team."
Ravichandran Ashwin observed that his journey from Chennai to Mumbai was like going to Mars, with all the protective gear they had to wear.
"So, you must have seen my travel from Chennai to Mumbai. It was like Mission Mars, we wore PPE kits, masks, visors. It was vert difficult. It was scary, thinking about how we would get there. I was sweating a lot."
The 33-year-old disclosed that they had been quarantined for a couple of days in Mumbai and were also tested again.
"They quarantined us for two days in Mumbai. We had our own individual rooms and were not allowed to leave them. They again tested us in Mumbai since we had travelled. After that testing, we got the approval to leave."
Ravichandran Ashwin about his journey to Dubai
Ravichandran Ashwin shared that both Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad had travelled in the same flight from Mumbai to Dubai, a journey in which he did not wear the PPE kit.
"Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers left for Dubai in a chartered flight. It had been months since I saw so many people. It did make me hesitate, but since everyone, Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers, had tested negative, I had faith. I didn't wear PPE kit on this flight. Just a mask and visor."
Ravichandran Ashwin mentioned that the Dubai airport was a reflection of the current times with the usual buzz missing.
"Then we landed in Dubai. Dubai Airport generally looks festive. It is always buzzing. So many shops and people. But no one was there. No shop was open. It was heartbreaking to see but this is how things are."
Ravichandran Ashwin revealed that the entire squad was tested in two ways for the coronavirus, with both a throat and nasal swab being taken.
"They made us sit separately at counters. We followed social distancing. Officers checked our visas. Then in a separate cubicle, they test for coronavirus in two ways. One is throat swab and the other is nasal swab."
On a lighter note, Ravichandran Ashwin mentioned that he had not filled as many papers since his Class XII board exams.
"Then you get instant approval, like getting receipts from ration stores. The last time I filled out so many papers was during my Class XII Board exams. After submitting all certificates, we got the green light."
Ravichandran Ashwin divulged that the entire squad would have to endure another 6-day quarantine, after which they would be able to hit the nets.
"And now we are in Dubai. Coronavirus takes roughly six days to show symptoms. So they asked us to stay inside our rooms, a six-day quarantine. Only then we will be allowed to play outside. We were longing for our bats and balls."
The Delhi Capitals new recruit mentioned that he would be having a discussion with their head coach Ricky Ponting once the latter arrives in Dubai, with the entire world awaiting their debate on the subject of Mankading.
"As you all are expecting, Ricky Ponting has also not reached yet. When he comes, we will have a chat with him. We have already talked on the phone. It was very refreshing. Many times, things said in English, the things Australians say get lost in translation. Even their humour or jokes can turn into news for us."
Ravichandran Ashwin would be plying his trade for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020. The wily off-spinner has scalped 125 wickets in the 139 matches he has played in the league so far, and has represented Chennai Super Kings, Rising Pune Supergiants and Kings XI Punjab previously.
Published 25 Aug 2020, 12:12 IST