The IPL Governing Council will meet on Sunday, August 2, 2020, in order to discuss and finalize the details of the IPL 2020 which is supposed to take place in UAE from September 19-November 8. This was possible due to ICC postponing the T20 World Cup in Australia due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The meeting is of utmost importance as all the eight franchises of the cash-rich league are dependent on the outcome of this meeting to plan and progress their schedules and other arrangements.
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel has already said that all minute details with regards to the conduct of the cash-rich league will be discussed in Sunday's meeting, franchises have told IANS that the four major areas of focus for them. These are confirmation of the tournament and schedule, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with the focus of COVID-19, confirmation of the availability of overseas players, and finally the logistical plan with regards to family travel.
Confirmation of the tournament and schedule:
BCCI has already requested the permission of the Indian government to hold the 13th edition of the IPL in UAE and awaiting the necessary confirmation. However, for the franchises, a final call will ensure them going ahead with getting done with the visa and necessary travel plans.
"We are yet to get the final word on the tournament which will then see us get our visas done. We need to understand that at this point in time which is the category under which we shall apply for visas. This is something that the BCCI will have to guide us with," an official of a franchise said.
There have been also talks about the extension of the window for the IPL 2020. This in order to accommodate the broadcaster’s request to utilize the Diwali weekend.
"While we initially read that Patel had confirmed the September 19-November 8 window, there have been talks of having the final on November 10. So, we do need a final clarity along with an idea on the days we are getting between matches and which are the venues we are playing at," the official explained.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP):
The franchises expect clear guidance on the dos and the don’ts with a focus on the Coronavirus pandemic.
"We are yet to get clarity when it comes to what is allowed inside the bio-bubble and what is not. If there will be more than one team in a hotel. How do we go about it if players want outside food? Will we have a team for that separately? Also, what happens if someone has to leave the bubble for an emergency, what will be the procedure for induction or if an injured player is replaced, how does that player join the rest of the squad? Will, he then has to undergo quarantine even though UAE rules don't call for quarantine measures if he has a negative report,” an official said.
"We have quite a few questions and hopefully the answers will come with the GC meeting. Also, if the BCCI medical team will be the final word or the franchise medical teams will be in charge of the respective teams," a team official explained.
Availability of foreign players:
This is another topic of consideration for the franchises is the availability of foreign players given that Australia and England will be engaged in an ODI series, the West Indies players busy in CPL and South African players unable to fly out due to the Coronavirus lockdown in their country.
"Will the English and Australian players miss the first round of games as they come from the UK to Dubai? What about the players coming in from playing in the CPL? Will they need to be handled differently? But most importantly, we need a word on the status of the South African players because all of us have players from there who are integral parts of our teams. We have had informal talks about flying all of them into UAE on a chartered plane, but the final call depends on the BCCI's directives on the same," an official explained.
Logistical planning with an eye on family:
Franchises are convinced that the players must have atleast their immediate families with them during the two months in UAE during the IPL. Five franchises have told IANS that it would be a plus keeping in mind the interest of the players.
"We are told that there will be a cap on the number of people who will be allowed to be with each of the eight teams. But we would like to hear from the BCCI on whether the players can be allowed to have their wives and girlfriends for a short span of time as going out of the hotel isn't an option,” an official mentioned.
"Also, some clarity is needed on the total group allowed per team because you do need net bowlers and people to help with conducting training. If UAE as hosts will be providing the training personnel or how do we need to plan around the members' cap -- these are things we are hoping to get clarity about tomorrow," an official of an IPL team said.