Despite the fact tha the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still waiting for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take a final call on the fate of the T20 World Cup before announcing the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), franchises seem to have already started their preparations to play the cash-rich tournament in UAE this year.
During a recent chat with IANS, a franchise official said, “You need to be smart and plan early. We have been given the required inputs and are planning accordingly. We have actually decided on the hotel we wish to stay in Abu Dhabi and how exactly we will go through the process of flying in and going through the necessary quarantine period once in UAE. We will obviously need to brush up with the then health guidelines of the country.”
Another official of a former champion franchise said that they will be going with some isolation period in India before heading off to UAE.
Explaining the same, the official said, “The reason behind that is we are all staying at home. So, if one of us is asymptomatic, we have the risk of infecting others. That is why it is better to go through a couple of weeks of isolation and testing here in the country before heading out.”
Asked about the travel plan, an official of another franchise revealed that for them chartered seems to be the most feasible option as normal flight schedules may or may not start and each team will have around 35-40 people traveling as a unit.
The official elaborate, “I think most teams, if not all, are already looking at hiring chartered planes. You never know if we will have regular flights operating by the end of August and most teams would wish to be in the UAE by the last week of August or at max the first week of September. So, in such a scenario, the best way is to hire chartered planes as we will all have around 35-40 people flying to UAE. The number of members obviously increases a bit when you are headed outside and have restrictions in movement in times like these.”
Another franchise official had a completely different opinion as they are still looking at first-class travel if flights start operating as the franchise isn’t looking for any sort of grouping in India and want the assembling to happen directly in the UAE.
The franchise official explained, “We as a franchise are looking at first-class travel for our players as that means better distancing. The sole reason is that we might not be assembling in India and be directly heading to UAE from each of our homes after doing necessary COVID-19-related tests. So, in such a scenario, you cannot expect the owners to pay for 8-10 chartered trips.”
However, all the franchises are agreeing on one scenario that all the foreign players will be coming directly to the UAE rather than first assemble in India, undergo quarantine formalities in this country, and then follow the same in UAE.