Guardiola to Kohli: Playing in empty stadiums is like a friendly game

The international sports calendar literally came to a grinding halt in March since the outbreak of COVID-19 on a global scale.

European football season slowly resumed in June while the England hosted West Indies and later Pakistan to signal the return of competitive cricket, but all sans fans.

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Playing indoors has taken the charm away from most of the games and renowned football coach Pep Guardiola, who is in charge of former Premier League champions Manchester City was candid while telling current Indian and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli that sporting events without fans are more or less like friendly games all the time.

“Without people it’s not the same, it”s like a friendly game every time. The show must go on, but we need to get the people back. It’s a completely different game, you feel empty. The bad moments are less, the good moments are less,” Guardiola told Kohli during a virtual event organised by Puma India.

The Indian skipper was playing host to a star-studded line-up of sports personalities during the interactive programme.

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Coming from a background that has no relation with cricket, Guardiola said he was trying to understand the sport, having worked and lived in England for some years now.

“Now you know Mumbai City is part of our family. I’ve never visited India so when this pandemic situation finishes maybe I can go there. And maybe if we’re together you can explain to me the rules of cricket. Oh my god it’s the most difficult complicated game.

“I come from Catalunya where cricket is not there, but here in England it’s an important sport. I try to follow it through the TV sometimes or I’ve some friends who play. Because you can play three days in a row and still it”s a draw I can”t understand it.

“It must be an attractive sport in some way, but you need to understand it. Next time we’ve to watch a football and cricket game together. I want to learn your game and promise me it’s going to happen,” the Spaniard added.

(With PTI inputs)

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