Guwahati: With less than a month left for the Indian Premier League, the BCCI is yet to announce the final schelude. For a tournament which is starting from September 19, and the final schedule not yet out, it is raising questions and concerns among the fans.
The reason is the separate COVID protocols in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two of the three IPL venues this year. There are travel restrictions between the two cities, according to which, while entering Abu Dhabi, one has to undergo mandatory rapid tests and only after a negative test one can cross the border.
Such strict procedures can turn out to be quite problematic for teams on a match day, and with as many as 21 matches planned to be played in Abu Dhabi, the BCCI is trying to work out some strategy to overcome this issue, before releasing the final schedule. Also, the fact that two of the six teams, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, are based in Abu Dhabi for the season, makes things all the more difficult with the travel and quarantine protocols underway.
According to reports, the BCCI team present in the UAE is trying figure out a plan along with the Emirates Cricket Board to overcome the local protocols. The BCCI has proposed to divide the IPL 2020 into two separate legs, mainly to minimise the inter-city travelling between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Currently, there are no travel restrictions between Dubai and Sharjah, the third venue where 14 matches are supposed to be played, and the BCCI is likely to decide upon playing the entire 35 matches as the first leg of the tournament in Dubai and Sharjah, and then move to Abu Dhabi once and for all to play the remaining 14 matches as the second leg of the tournament.
The teams can then return to Dubai together for the play-offs and finals, without any hassle as Dubai do not have any travel restrictions at the moment.
The IPL Governing Council chairman, Brijesh Patel along with the interim CEO of BCCI Hemang Amin have almost resolved the issues in a meeting with the various officials in the UAE government, especially with the Emirates Cricket Board chief Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak personally intervening in the matter of the issues concerning smooth operations of the tournament.
According to reports, BCCI is expected to release the final schedule for the IPL 2020 in the next 24 hours.