The governing council of the Indian Premier League is in no hurry to announce the fixtures for the 13th edition of the tournament before it carries out a thorough recce of the venues in the UAE.
Sources in the know told The Telegraph that it could take another week before the fixtures are made official. With a little over three weeks remaining for the tournament to start, some of the franchises have started enquiring about their schedule with the governing council.
"Brijesh Patel, the governing council chairman, and chief operating officer Hemang Amin reached Dubai on Sunday and are in six-day quarantine. Top officials of IMG, the event managers, are also there.
"They are yet to visit the venues and sort out various logistical issues with the Emirates Cricket Board. That will take a few days and until then the fixtures can't be finalised," sources said.
It has been learnt that different sets of Covid-19 testing rules in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have made it tough for the franchises who will be staying in Dubai and would have to travel to Abu Dhabi for a match.
"You need a negative Covid-19 test report, which has to be done at the border, before entering Abu Dhabi. Such strict procedures won't work for the teams on a match day. There's a possibility that |teams could be tested at their hotels on the night before |the match.
"Then they could be escorted and directly allowed entry to Abu Dhabi through a special arrangement between the two emirates. That clarity has to evolve before the fixtures are announced," said someone in the know of things.
Six of the eight franchises are based in Dubai.
Another factor, which is being debated upon, is the heat. The IPL had decided on 10 afternoon matches during the 53-day tournament, which would start at 2pm local time (3.30pm IST).
But the excruciating sultry conditions could force the |governing council to look |for alternatives. RCB fast bowler Dale Steyn felt it was "steaming outside" when he landed in Dubai "around 3 in the morning".
"Either the matches will be cancelled or pushed to at least 3.30pm local time (5pm IST)," said a source.
Keeping the conditions in mind, the teams have been allowed to practise at the ICC Academy in Dubai Sports City from 4 to 11pm.
The quarantine rules for England and Australia players, who are scheduled to arrive on September 17, have also cast a shadow on the fixtures. The governing council is yet to decide on whether they will be exempt from the six-day quarantine period if they travel from one bio-bubble to another.