Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 26 September 2023

BCCI plans recce of IPL venues in UAE

With international flights non-operational, the BCCI may have to opt for a chartered aircraft to and from Dubai

Indranil Majumdar Calcutta Published 25.07.20, 01:43 AM
Brijesh Patel

Brijesh Patel Telegraph picture

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to conduct a recce of the three venues in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ahead of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League.

The tournament will begin on September 19 with the final slated to be held on either November 8 or 10, IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed on Friday. The IPL will comprise 60 matches and will be held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.


According to The Telegraph’s sources, the recce would be held in early August after some of the franchises voiced concern over the facilities and health safety protocols there.

The recce team is expected to include officials of the BCCI and IPL governing council besides medical experts. Some of the franchise representatives could also be included.

With international flights non-operational, the BCCI may have to opt for a chartered aircraft to and from Dubai. Modalities are still being worked out.

“Some of the franchises want to be sure about the facilities at the ground and the hotels. All this cannot be done remotely. Since it involves health issues, it is better to see them physically,” a source told The Telegraph.

“Franchises have raised concern about health protocols. That will entirely depend on the UAE government. For that they need the official confirmation from our side to their invitation. It will be done once our government clears the proposal, which is expected next week.

“The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has also made it clear that it’s not possible to provide a bio-secure bubble as has been done in England for the series versus West Indies. But they have agreed to provide sanitised tunnels for the players during matches and training,” the source added.

Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia has advocated daily testing of players but that will again depend on the UAE government. It was learnt that health protocols provided to players and support staff for the EPL and La Liga matches would be provided by the Emirates board.

One positive is that the UAE has the pandemic under control and not many restrictions are in place. Dubai also has no-quarantine requirements for those who carry a negative test result before flying and pass another test on arrival.

The Standard Operating Procedure for the tournament is likely to be announced after the recce is done. The IPL is in no hurry to call its governing council meeting though Patel said it could be held next week. The members though have been informed about the tournament dates.

The IPL also wanted to block the window for the tournament before any other board could have come up with the proposal for a bilateral series. That is being seen as the reason why the IPL announced the dates before its governing council meeting.

The IPL is also trying to reduce the number of double headers because of the sultry conditions in UAE.

“We are trying to keep most of the matches in the evening. If needed, two matches can be held at two venues on the same day. This is being done to protect the players from the intense heat,” said the source.

Talks are on with the broadcasters on advancing by half an hour the 8pm IST starts. That is being considered as matches often stretch beyond midnight. However, because of the 90-minute time difference with the UAE, such an idea may not gain much credence.

Meanwhile, there’s some uncertainty over the participation of South African players following the strict lockdown imposed in the country. Ten South African players, including AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada and Faf du Plessis, are part of various franchises.Cricket South Africa though has promised to issue the No-Objection Certificate to the players.

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