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Gujarat Lions move to new den in search of meat and peace in IPL Twenty20

The Indian Premier League season is taxing for the players, mentally and physically, and teams look for ways to keep members of the side fresh for the campaign lasting almost two months.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 17, 2017 15:42 IST
Harit Joshi
Harit Joshi
Hindustan Times
IPL 2017,Gujarat Lions,Indian Premier League
Gujarat Lions have struggled in the 2017 Indian Premier League campaign so far, winning just one out of four matches.(BCCI)

Players have often highlighted battling fatigue as one of the biggest challenges they face in the Indian Premier League. (IPL 2017 full coverage)

The almost two-month long T20 tournament virtually becomes a mental battle for teams with the constant travel across eight to 10 venues in different states and cities taking a huge toll on the players and support staff.

The summer temperature is another major challenge for the players.

Rajkot, the Gujarat Lions’ home venue, for instance, saw the temperature peak at 44-45 degrees Celsius in the last week.

While there can be no excuse of all these factors coming in the way of maintaining peak performance every time they step on to the ground, Gujarat Lions still have taken extra measures to ensure their players and support staff are always in shape to deliver their best.

Fenced Out

In a first in the IPL, Gujarat Lions have virtually booked an entire luxurious resort, The Regency Lagoon, on the outskirts of Rajkot, where the SCA Stadium is located. The idea was mooted by team CEO Col Arvinder Singh.

In the last IPL, the team was staying at a five-star hotel in the city.

The difference this time is that the fans don’t crowd the hotel lobby here and the players are able to enjoy the privacy which wasn’t the case last time.

A source informed HT that players are able to get exclusive access to the swimming pool, gym and other sports facilities at the resort because the entire property is booked by the Gujarat Lions management.

The team meeting room has Gujarat Lions players’ posters and motivational messages to inspire the players.

Preferred Cuisine

One of the biggest advantages Gujarat Lions players have gained from moving to a private resort is the availability of non-vegetarian food.

Gujarat Lions will be aiming to bounce back in their next game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are in last position. (BCCI)

“There is plenty of variety in non-vegetarian food at the resort. The last season, the options were limited at the five-star hotel. Especially, in Gujarat, non-vegetarian food is a bit of a task. And a lot of players prefer non-vegetarian food. The advantage here is that there isn’t anyone else apart from the team at the resort, so everything from food to ambience is as per the team’s liking,” said the source.

While at the resort, players have their own team bonding sessions and get-togethers. The players take out their bicycles and ride to Nyari Dam, which is located close to the resort, to unwind.

Former India coach John Wright, who managed Mumbai Indians a few seasons ago, had asked for the dressing room walls to match the colour of the team jersey, and also pasted motivational messages on them.

Off Beaten Track

This is not the first time a team has locked itself in a resort. During Euro 2016, the German football team had booked all 80 rooms at four-star Hotel Ermitage during the tournament.

During the Rio Olympics, the US men’s and women’s basketball teams had stayed on a cruise ship due to lack of facilities and poor accommodation at the Olympics Village. Gujarat Lions suffered crushing defeats in their first two matches.

An emphatic win against Rising Pune Supergiant on Friday signalled a turnaround, though Sunday’s loss to Mumbai Indians will again leave the players seeking calm.

First Published: Apr 17, 2017 11:00 IST