The Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to take place in the UAE from the 19th of September to the 10th of November. The IPL governing council meeting that took place yesterday confirmed about the government’s clearance to proceed with the tournament.
All matches will take place across three venues – Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. Bio secure environments will be set up in all venues to ensure the safety of the players. Matches will begin half an hour earlier than the usual timings at 3:30 pm IST and 7:30 pm IST. 10 double headers will be played throughout the course of the tournament.
The letter from the BCCI secretary Jay Shah also states that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are likey to be published soon and distributed to the franchises. These SOPs are basically the guidelines that teams need to follow right from the day they fly to the UAE till the day the finals are played keeping in mind the safety of the teams. According to reports, a 240 page SOP has already been drafted by a logistics firm. An official said that the BCCI are in talks with the TATA group to create a bio bubble and a Dubai based group want to help them create a medical facility there. All sponsors remain intact for the competition and Vivo continues to be the title sponsors.
The teams are allowed to pick a limit of 24 players and covid replacements will be permitted like how it was for the England-Windies series. Family members of the players are most likely not going to be allowed to travel with them. A seperate bio bubble will be formed for the broadcasters and the BCCI officials in the UAE.
The players will travel in chartered flights and not in commerical flights to ensure minimum contact with the outside world. Indian players will have to complete their quarantine period in one city for 7 days untill they test negative and then they can leave for Dubai. In Dubai, they will be tested again and will have to wait for one or two days untill the report arrives. After testing negative they can enter the bubble.
The situation for the foreign players participating in the IPL is:-
1. Australia and England will be completing their series on the 15 of September in Manchester so the players that are also part of the IPL will begin the competition late considering the quarantine requirements.
2. The Caribbean premier league (CPL) will go on till the 10th of September. Players from there will join their teams after testing negative.
3. The Sri Lanka premier league ends on the 20th of September. Lasith Malinga and Isuru Udana will arrive later in the tournament.
4. The South African government is currently not allowing citizens to leave the country but with time hopefully their players will be allowed to do so.
For the first time in the history of the tournament the final will be played on a week day which is on a Tuesday. Crowds won’t be allowed to enter the stadium in the initial phase of the tournament but the second phase could see about 25-30% attendance of crowds in the stands. The BCCI is considering to set up a camp at the newly built Motera stadium in Ahmedabad for centrally contracted players before they leave for the IPL.
Another major development was seen yesterday. The BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirmed to PTI that the women’s challenger series will be played from 1-10 November. He also mentioned that there will be a series with south africa in october for the women’s team and a tour to the west Indies post the Challenger series and later on the world cup down under if everything goes according to plan.
The women’s Big Bash league(WBBL) is clashing with the challenger series and Australian legend Alyssa Healy did not hold back.
However, the point to be highlighted here is that the board is serious about the progress of women’s cricket and that’s how it should be.
The IPL taking place this year is great news for every cricket fan and a big relief.
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UPDATE: VIVO have pulled out as title sponsors for IPL