When IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed the dates for the start of season 13, there was a huge sense of joy among the fans, who had already been facing the wrath of the coronavirus pandemic. The news came as a breath of fresh air and brought relief to most cricket fans, who had not got to see their stars take to the field. But the logistical challenges that the board will have to face amid the pandemic are huge. To take a tournament – which is held in India to the UAE is no mean feat.
According to a report in The Times of India, franchises want to assemble their players three weeks prior to the tournament – which would mean mid-August. So, how would that happen? Over 1200 people, including players, support staff, officials from different parts of the world have to be brought together. The traveling and then the bio-bubble that the UAE has put in place for health reasons would include multiple testing and quarantine.
In order to speed up the process of assembling players from different parts of the globe, team owners have been asked to help out with private planes and visas.
”These plans need to be worked out thoroughly”, said a source to TOI.
Well, BCCI has shifted the tournament out of the country on two occasions, but this time the time period is short and the scenario completely different, which makes it doubly tough.
”IPL’s biggest responsibility will be to put a well-panned bio-secure bubble in place”, said a source. Before the departure, every individual will take two COVID-19 tests 72 hours prior to travel and test again on arrival, that is difficult.
Also one of the major reasons why IPL has agreed to shift the tournament to UAE is because there are two grounds and both are on the outskirts of the city.
”This is too scary. There are so many questions. How will the players fly? When? Are we supposed to do our own bookings? What about the operational procedures?” Three franchises told TOI.