The IPL 2020, which was plunged into uncertainty with COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc in India, is all set to be held in UAE.
While the Governing Council of the league will meet on Sunday (August 2), the IPL chairman Brijesh Patel last week confirmed that they have zeroed in on a 51-day window from September 19 to November 8 for the T20 league.
As per a TOI report, the strength of each IPL squad will be discussed at the Governing Council meeting.
Usually, an IPL franchise has 25-28 players in its squad and at least 10-15 members in support staff apart from the executives. Report also claims that each IPL franchise will have to organise its own bio-bubble upon reaching UAE about a month ahead of the tournament. In that case, limiting the squad could be a big topic of debate.
It is not the first time that UAE will be hosting the cash-rich tournament. In 2014, first 20 games of the IPL were staged in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah because of the general elections in India. Back then, teams had carried a trimmed squad.
According to TOI, franchises could be asked to limit the number of players to 20. The motive is to keep the dressing room less crowded but the franchises don’t want to compromise on the number of players.
"If at all there are directions on the squad strength, then the franchises would prefer to prune their non-playing staff. Some franchises will leave this decision to the coach and team management. Ideally, if there is a cap then it should be on the entourage as a whole," a senior franchise official told the same newspaper.
"On match days, there could be a cap on the number of people a franchise brings to ground. Even a few from the support staff could be asked to stay back in the hotel," he added.
The other complication for the franchises is the arrangement of proper practice facilities. With strict health protocols in place, availability of resources for practice won't be easy.
"That's why the franchises need more players. The teams will be in UAE for nearly two and a half months. Getting net bowlers for so many teams will be tough," the official said.
The ICC Academy in Dubai has almost 40 pitches and two full grounds, but the franchises need resources to make good use of it.
"The franchises can hire the facilities but they need to have resources too. There has to be an SOP on hiring net bowlers and resources," the official added.