A final call will happen once discussions with BCCI on quarantine protocols take place. While they are looking to shift base to the UAE by the third week of August, the IPL will be closely followed by the T20 World Cup. The availability of foreign stars should remain another important focus for the remainder of the season.
Franchises remain hopeful that the BCCI will make the foreign players available for the remaining games and engage in positive discussions with the foreign boards.
An official of one of the franchises mentioned to ANI that initial planning and discussions have already started. However, the quarantine rules that the BCCI decides on with the UAE government and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) will determine the exact time of moving to the UAE.
As of now, we only have the communication that the remaining part of the IPL will be held in the UAE after Saturday’s Special General Meeting. We are also aware that the BCCI office-bearers are in talks with the ECB on the plan of action and are currently in Dubai. So, once we have clarity on the protocols that will be in place, especially with regards to teams quarantining after reaching UAE, we can block the hotel rooms accordingly, maintained the official.
As for the hotels in UAE, they will more or less be the same ones that the teams used last year, according to a franchise official. “Talks are on and once we hear from the BCCI on the travel plan, we will close the deal with the hotel”.
The official further explained: Barring one or two teams, you can expect most of the teams to book the same hotels which they did last season because it helps as both the teams as well as the hotel staff know exactly what they are looking at when it comes to the bio-bubbles and arrangements for travel to the ground and other areas that need special focus with an eye on the COVID-19 situation.
Another official expressed concern that teams could be reluctant to leave their players for the IPL. Right now, many of them remain focused on confirming the availability of foreign cricketers for the remaining games. Also, some of the boards might have T20 World Cup preparations on top of their mind.
Yes, if we do end up missing some of the foreign stars, that is an area which would need some attention when it comes to picking replacements as the foreign players are also integral to the teams. Team balance can go for a toss, so keeping fingers crossed on that one, the official said.
After the teams’ meetings with the ECB and the UAE government, a franchise official said that the BCCI is expected to once again give a dateline on when teams can start reaching UAE. Hence, all plans would be completed only after an official message from the board.
If you remember, last year we were given a specific date (August 20) before which we couldn’t leave for UAE. With the tournament once again starting around September 18-19, we should be given the same kind of window to start shifting base to UAE. With the discussions with hotels already on, it shouldn’t be such a big concern. As of now, we are looking at traveling around the third week of August, the official told ANI.
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Cricket analyst in India. Specialization: match analytics, player transfers, cricket news.