Days of players hitting the ground for training amidst fanfare, lavish welcomes and players giving autographs or taking selfies with fans at the team hotels are long gone. There is an eerie silence this time around the Indian Premier League (IPL). That is primarily down to the alternate world we are now living in, words such as quarantine, isolation and bio-bubble are new normal.
Amidst all that, the countdown for the IPL has begun and among other things, the participation of overseas players will be much deliberated. That the Australian team has travelled to England to play a limited-overs series makes things interesting from the IPL’s point of view. The IPL, to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this time starts just days after the completion of the series between England and Australia, where the old foes will play three T20Is and ODIs each.
In spite of the constant requests from the IPL franchise to the IPL Governing Council (GC), the board has decided to push on with its protocols which mean the Australian, English, as well as players travelling after playing the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), will have to miss out on at least a week of IPL’s action. However, a tweak in rules means that the players with necessary precautions can be part of the action from the start.
The quarantine rules
According to the rules laid out by the BCCI for players entering the bio-bubble across the stadiums in the UAE, each player will have to spend 7 days in quarantine, which will rule out any sort of training or fitness work for the concerned players. During that week, three Tests will be carried out on the first, third and sixth day to ensure that the players are perfectly fine to start the training with the rest of the squad.
“We can’t have a different set of norms for different parties. Even if England & Australian top cricketers miss the first week of IPL, everyone should be ok with it. We can’t risk the tournament for anyone’s sake. Within BCCI, it has been decided that no relaxation in the IPL BIO Bubble norms will be entertained for anyone”, informed an IPL GC member on a condition of anonymity.
This implies that the franchises will have to play the opening set of games without their marquee players from Australia and England.
Testing: 🄳🄾🄽🄴 ☑️
Precautions: 🅃🄰🄺🄴🄽 😷
— Delhi Capitals (Tweeting from 🏠) (@DelhiCapitals) August 22, 2020
Royals feel the pinch
Be it Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler or Jofra Archer, Rajasthan Royals are set to lose out the most by the seven-day quarantine of the players as they boast the most number of players from Australia and England. Steve Smith is the leader of the team and in his absence, the likes of Sanju Samson or South Africa’s David Miller are likely to lead the team.
The franchise has clarified that they will do whatever it takes to maintain the highest safety standards when the team’s overseas players arrive next month for the IPL. Austalia and England play their final match of the series on September 16 in Manchester. They will be flown into the UAE by a private plane by the Rajasthan Royals, it is touted.
Overall 17 players from Australia and 11 from England are contracted to play in IPL 2020 on multi-million dollar contracts. Many IPL teams have already reached Dubai and are serving the week-long mandatory quarantine period.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) August 21, 2020
It was argued by many teams that the overseas players will be in a bio-secured bubble. So if they are flown in from England and the Caribbean Islands in another bio bubble, their quarantine period could be compromised and exempted from airport formalities such as immigration.
However, it was confirmed on Saturday according to the updated BCCI protocol that the quarantine norms could be truncated in a special scenario, which effectively implies that the Australian and English players could be part of the opening act of the IPL.
The full list of players who could miss some early action:
Chennai Super Kings: Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, Shane Watson
Delhi Capitals: Alex Carrey, Jason Roy, Stoinis
Kolkata Knight Riders: Pat Cummins, Green, Gurney, Eoin Morgan, T. Banton
KingsXI Punjab: C.Jordan, Glenn Maxwell
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Bairstow, Mitchell Marsh, Stanlake, David Warner
Rajasthan Royals: Jofra Archer, Buttler, T.Curran, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Andrew Tye
Royal Challengers Bengaluru: Moeen Ali, Aaron Finch, J.Philippe, K.Richardson
Mumbai Indians: Coulter -Nile, Chris Lynn