Centurion:Deccan Chargers batsman Herschelle Gibbs feels the passionate fans and the media glare make the Indian Premier League the toughest and mentally draining tournament.
"It is the toughest tournament from a mental point of view. It is just so mentally tough and draining -- on and off the field. It is not just the players you play against; the media and public are very much in your face too," said the South African top-order batsman.
However, Gibbs says good performances by his side in the second edition of the IPL so far has managed to release some of the pressure.
"Since we have made a great start, it has released a lot of pressure. Now, the focus is to keep the momentum going," the Protea told IPL's official website.
Gibbs, who was sidelined for a while undergoing rehabilitation programme to cure his drinking problem, said he was nervous playing the IPL in front of the home crowd.
"Boy, it was hard coming back into IPL I was really nervous. I think I got a couple of good scores against Australia and that helped me cop a heap from the media. But time heals most things and even though I expect to get a little ribbing this time round, I accept it is in my past," said Gibbs.
From finishing the inaugural IPL season at the bottom of the pit to leading the table this time around was something no one expected from the Deccan Chargers but Gibbs said a lot of soul searching was done by the players and it was felt that all should play their natural game.
"Obviously, Gilly and I must lead by example, but looking at others they are all doing quite well. We all must try and play our natural games. We have already had a few discussions about going out and being natural. Gilly is hitting the ball well and I have got a good understanding going with him so it is good for the team," said Gibbs who hailed coach Darren Lehmann for turning the team into a winning unit.
"He (Lehmann) is not very complicated at all. He knows what is required at this level. He was a great success with Rajasthan Royals last year and he shares a great rapport with Gilly. And that's working for us."