That the IPL is happening, and it’s happening in the UAE, was announced by the league’s Governing Council head Brijesh Patel almost two weeks back.
19 September to 8 November is the window eked out by the BCCI for their big project but with less than 2 months left for the start of season 13, there are more questions in the air than there are answers available.
Among the first is - when will the Indian government give clearance for the IPL to be hosted in the UAE? While the answer to that is out of the hands of any BCCI official or league associate, there are other questions that may end up finding answers in Sunday’s IPL Governing Council meet.
Most important among them is the question of bringing squads together from across the world.
Players from Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies make up a large chunk of the overseas contingent in the IPL. While Australia, England, New Zealand and West Indies have open borders for international travel, the rest of the countries are seeing very restricted numbers flying out which means the IPL will need to procure special permission and make special arrangements to fly out the likes of AB de Villiers and Quinton do Kock from South Africa.
Another emerging area of concern are the players who are playing the Caribbean Premier League that stretches from 18 August to 10 September, just 9 days before the start of the IPL, thus leaving very little room for a 15-day quarantine period between international travel. This list includes the likes of Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, Rashid Khan, Mitch Santner and even KKR coach Brendon McCullum.
Australian cricketers, should they eventually elect to travel to the UAE, will need to abandon their domestic cricket teams with the start of the Aussie season likely to clash with the IPL. That’s if the limited-overs tour of England that’s reportedly expected to run from 4-16 September doesn't materialise. There are 17 Australians including 2 IPL captains, Steve Smith and David Warner, and the league’s most expensive foreign player Pat Cummins, on IPL rosters this season.
The trouble doesn't end with just overseas players, even neighbours Sri Lanka could see a delayed departure of their IPL players with the domestic Sri Lankan Premier League set to run from 28 August to 20 September 2020, that’s till one day after the IPL gets underway.
Lasith Malinga has been a match-winner for Mumbai Indians while Isuru Udana will turn out for Royal Challengers Bangalore after being bought in the December auction.
A Charter For The Proteas?
South Africa has been in lockdown since March, and much like India, has shut all international travel, thus forcing five players to pull out of the CPL starting next month. Only Imran Tahir, who was in Pakistan during the last few months, managed to travel to the Caribbean for the league. But there is a bigger number of players playing the IPL with AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock all key members of their franchises and so, reports now suggest that franchises are looking at pooling in their funds and sending a charter flight to bring the players to the UAE.
"“Why would we want one plane to bring a player for one franchise and another for another franchise? At a time when travel restrictions are on and everyone is moving very cautiously, it is only practical that we have them all come in together in one plane.”" - IPL team official to IANS
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