Fanless sporting events are “like friendlies,” famed football coach Pep Guardiola said Wednesday during an interaction with Indian cricket star Virat Kohli.
Kohli hosted a star-studded line-up of sports personalities at a virtual event hosted by Puma India and the hugely successful coach was his second guest of the evening.
Guardiola replied to a question from the Indian captain about playing in empty stadiums in a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic: “It’s not the same without people, it’s like a friendly match every time.
“The show has to go on, but we have to get the people back. It’s a completely different game, you feel empty. The bad moments are less, the good moments are less ”, the Spaniard added.
During an incredible coaching career, the 49-year-old master of strategy has led Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City to multiple league titles in addition to winning the Champions League.
Coming from a background unrelated to cricket, Guardiola said he is trying to understand the sport having worked and lived in England for a number of years.
‘Now you know that Mumbai City is part of our family. I have never visited India so once this pandemic situation is over I may be able to go there. And when we’re together, maybe you can explain to me the rules of cricket. Oh my gosh, it’s the hardest complicated game.
“I come from Catalonia where cricket isn’t there, but here in England it’s an important sport. I sometimes try to follow it on the TV or I have some friends playing. Since you can play three days in a row and still it’s a draw, I don’t understand.
“It has to be an attractive sport somehow, but you have to understand it. Next time, we should watch a football and cricket game together. I want to learn your game and promise it will happen, ”he said.
He said the character is more important than skills for a player to grow up. This was in response to Kohli’s question about what he is looking at while signing a player – skill or character.
“We see the skills (while drawing a player), but we should see the character. The character actually makes the difference – to be competitive and hungrier to be able to put aside the bad moments, if you can find this in the squad as much as possible, you have a winner’s team.
“Skill is not enough to win in higher leagues. But if you buy them, you don’t know them, ”Guardiola said.
Completely in line with Guardiola’s views, Kohli, who currently plays the IPL behind closed doors in the UAE, replied: “A lot of people don’t understand this, they look at the skill of the players, but behind the scenes work how he is. react to a certain situation when the camera does not respond to him, he is in the hard yard these are things that go unnoticed.
“I think people should realize the reason for selecting players who will become superstars over time.”
To which Guardiola responded, “It’s how you deal with the pressure you know.”
“You are the best Indian player in cricket and at the right time in the quarter-final, semi-final or final you do your best and show the world that you are the best and help the team to win and then scenarios get smaller and players are getting bigger. “
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