The 13th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to start from September 19 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). All the eight franchises participating in the upcoming season of IPL have reached the Gulf nation.
Fans are eager to see the fixtures of the exciting tournament, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hasn’t yet announced the schedule.
According to a report in The Hindu, the reason behind the delay in releasing of schedule is the rise of COVID-19 cases in Abu Dhabi.
The constant rise in infections over the past few days has forced the authorities in Abu Dhabi to make rapid tests mandatory upon arrival in order to maintain safety.
It means is that the teams, broadcast crew and other officials, who will be based out of Dubai, will have to suffer an additional cost of Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) 50. BCCI is in consultations with the UAE government to find a solution and is also planning to host fewer matches in Abu Dhabi.
“It could be a case of two teams playing home and away games back to back, similar to 2011. As of now, Abu Dhabi could host a few matches only in the first half,” said an IPL insider.
At present, Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are based in Abu Dhabi, while the rest of 6 teams are staying in Dubai. Also, Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) may begin their training at Sharjah and ICC Academy in Dubai from Thursday (August 27).
BCCI trying to decrease afternoon games
As per reports, players have also shown anxiety over the hot weather conditions in the Gulf country. So the apex Indian board is exploring all options to shorten the number of doubleheaders in IPL 2020.
“While the weather is pleasant in the evenings, in the afternoon, the temperature soars. So, efforts are being taken to ensure that we don’t have too many day games, at least in the first leg,” said a BCCI veteran.
Earlier, it was discovered that officials of BCCI’s state units wouldn’t be able to attend the beginning of the lucrative league because of the strict bio-bubble.
“While I am confident that we will be able to deliver a memorable tournament, I will be approaching the start of the tournament with a heavy heart as your absence would render the opening incomplete.”
“I am hopeful that till the time we reach the playoff week, we would have more relaxations on travel and interactions, which would allow us to have you all travel to the UAE,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah had written in a letter to the state units.