'When we have such get-togethers, we get to keep our minds off the game a bit.'
Kolkata Knight Riders players and support staff had their first hangout at the team hotel in Abu Dhabi on Monday evening after spending more than a week in quarantine in their hotel rooms.
VIDEO: Kind courtesy, Kolkata Knight Riders/Instagram
"Today we had our first get-together. It felt great meeting everyone and to be back together like old times. We do meet each other at the nets and talk a lot about cricket," KKR's left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav said in a video posted on their official website.
"But when we have such get-togethers, we get to keep our minds off the game a bit," Yadav said.
The Indian players of the Dinesh Karthik-led side checked in at the Ritz Carlton on August 21 and following the relaxation of norms they have started training at the Sheikh Zayed international Cricket Stadium academy from Friday.
Assistant coach Abhishek Nayar said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone mentally so it was important to spend some "quality time".
"In tough times like these, how the COVID period has been for everyone, it takes a toll on mental side of things for everyone. I just felt today when all of us were sitting, chatting together, laughing (it was great).
"It brings that sense of relief that things can still be normal, even though this situation being the 'new normal'. Just to have this quality time with the boys was terrific tonight," Nair said in the video.
Batsman Nitish Rana said it was exciting to meet so many people after six-seven months of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's not really 8-10 days, after six seven months' of isolation we are getting to meet so many people. We all were really excited for this day.
"Since the past 8-10 days, we were waiting for a moment like this, to meet teammates and hangout like previous years as a team, as a family. Today we finally got that chance. Felt really good."
Echoing similar sentiments, explosive batsman Rinku Singh said: "It was quite boring during the quarantine being confined in our rooms.
But today we are out for the first time with the team."
Among the foreigners for the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned KKR, the West Indies duo of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell will arrive post the completion of the ongoing Caribbean Premier League, while Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan and Tom Banton will join post the England vs Australia limited overs series.
The 13th edition of IPL gets underway in UAE from September 19.