With the cash-rich Indian Premier League set to start on September 18, Rajasthan Royals could face the biggest casualty. Four key players of the franchise could miss the first few games due to national duties. Skipper Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, and Jos Buttler could be the big names not featuring in the first few games for the Royals as Australia will be touring England for a short limited-overs series – which gets over on September 18 at Old Trafford.
Yet, according to media reports, it is believed that they will take the flight to Dubai on September 16. Even then, with the testing and quarantine process in place – which will take at least 15 days, the Royals could have a massive setback early on in the T20 tournament.
“BCCI and IPL GC will soon release Standard Operating Procedures for the franchises, players, and other stakeholders of the league. We will be following the same diligently. We are hearing those international cricketers will only be allowed to join the league and respective squads after strict testing norms and after fulfilling the subsequent procedures”, said one of the IPL franchise officials according to an InsideSport report.
Not just the Royals, but other franchises are also going to suffer if this is the case, but looks like the western franchise will be the hardest hit. The four members who could miss the first leg of the tournament form the core of the unit and with them not featuring it could be mayhem for them.
The BCCI was forced to shift the T20 league to UAE because of the pandemic. The decision came to the fore on Friday when IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel made the big announcement.