IPL 2020: Franchises seek clarity as Governing Council meets

Written by Vishwas Gupta

The IPL Governing Council (GC) will meet virtually on Sunday evening to put in place processes and protocols for staging the Indian Premier League in the UAE. The tournament is planned from September 19 to November 8, although the Indian board is still awaiting permission from the Indian government to hold the event abroad. There is unease among stakeholders as there is no word yet from the government.

The BCCI has sent a letter of intent to the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for hosting the league. Indian board officials, who didn’t wish to be identified, are positive: “The home ministry’s latest guidelines which didn’t open up sporting activities till August 31 is an indicator it will allow IPL to move overseas,” they say.

Without the official nod, the meeting may not be able to finalise the schedule, which the eight franchises are seeking at the earliest to take it to their sponsors and seal deals. Broadcasters too are yet to start promotional campaigns and ad sales as they wait for the official confirmation. They hope BCCI will be ready with a provisional schedule at the meeting.

Details such as the squad strength and support staff to carry, stipulated numbers in the dug-outs, whether there will be provision for replacement players, Covid-19 testing procedure, reaction mechanism in case of a positive case are all clarifications franchises seek from BCCI.

The other worry for franchises is uncertainty over the availability of England and Australia players in the first week of IPL. Australia’s limited overs series in England will end on September 16. There are 17 players from Australia and 13 from England in IPL 2020. Top Australia players, including Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner, Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and KKR’s Pat Cummins will be picked for the bilateral series. “Can these players be flown in the very next day, how soon will they be available for action, what will the quarantine rules be like, we don’t know,” said another franchise official.

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Vishwas Gupta