The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises are finalising the details of the Season 13 of the T20 league which is scheduled to kick-off on September 19 in the UAE. While the schedule, accommodation, COVID-19 SOPs and several other matters are expected to be discussed in the upcoming Governing Council meeting, the schedule clash between IPL and England-Australia series has added to the franchises’ headache.
The BCCI is looking to start IPL 2020 on September 19 but the teams would have to manage without England and Australian national team players at least till the first week of the competition as the England vs Australia bilateral series is scheduled to conclude on September 16. Though the series concludes 4 days before the IPL commences, the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in UAE requires overseas travellers to undergo a week’s quarantine and 2 coronavirus tests.
This means that the likes of David Warner, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Pat Cummins, etc. would not be available for their respective franchises right from the beginning as they would be serving quarantine periods.
Though different cricket boards all across the globe have issued the NOCs regarding their players’ participation in the T20 league, the franchises have also been tasked with the responsibility of flying the players from different parts of the globe to UAE. They would also have to take care of their returns after the tournament concludes.
“Player availability is not the concern any more. It’s about getting them to UAE and seeing them through the quarantine window,” Times of India quoted a source as saying.
The franchises have a big responsibility on their shoulders when it comes to flying in players on chartered planes and taking care of their accommodation, especially in these tricky times of COVID-19. The issue of arranging flights for IPL-bound South African cricketers, in times where their county has imposed strict travel restrictions, had already given the franchise bosses a major headache and now the timely availability of English and Australian players has also become an issue.