‘IPL Schedule and Testing of Players Need to be Aligned’

Abu Dhabi Cricket CEO speaks

Abu Dhabi Cricket chief executive officer Matt Boucher has quietened concern, as the 2020 Indian Premier League remains without a full schedule less than a month prior to the start.

This year's Indian Premier League will be played in the United Arab Emirates. The matches will not have spectators, as a preventative measure against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be the host cities. They also hosted IPL matches in 2014.

“The match schedule and the testing of the players need to be aligned. It's not an easy task, it needs to be thought out, it needs to be calculated, but the safety of the players and others is the most important thing. It's not an international border, it's a safety mechanism,” Boucher told ESPNcricinfo.

“At the border, it's either a diffractive phase interferometry test or a polymerise chain reaction test, and it's purely to protect the population of Abu Dhabi. Many hundreds of people are using the border every day, and it's certainly not a hassle or an issue.

“It just has to be, of course, tailored into the event schedule with rotational testing. But the teams need to be tested in accordance with the protocols of the event, the UAE government, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India protocols for the event.

“And if those are in line with the testing procedures at the border, then the facilitation will take place.”

Mumbai and Hyderabad Examples

The Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad are among the eight franchises due to compete in the IPL 2020. Mumbai are the reigning champions, having beaten the Chennai Super Kings in the 2019 final. Mumbai have four IPL titles.

Chennai have three. The Kolkata Knight Riders have two. Hyderabad have one. The Rajasthan Royals and now-defunct Deccan Chargers have also won the IPL.

“If Sunrisers Hyderabad is staying in Dubai, and playing in Abu Dhabi on a Wednesday, the team rotation for that test needs to take place 48 hours before they travel to Abu Dhabi. And they can then travel seamlessly back to Dubai. It shouldn't be a sticking point,” added Boucher.

“For example, if Mumbai are playing in Dubai on Wednesday, then 48 hours before that match they need to have the PCR test to return from Dubai.

“That will be facilitated by a VIP lane and Dubai police escorts and Abu Dhabi police escorts. Upon their return to the Abu Dhabi border, the police will already have all the negative test reports, and they will seamlessly come through the border via a VIP lane.”

New title

Jonhenry is a cricket nut. He has written about the game for several years and knows more about South African cricket - club cricket, in particular - than most. He has been published on most reputable cricket sites and, nowadays, devotes his knowledge of the global game to the iGaming industry. When he is not producing content about cricket, Jonhenry is playing, watching or coaching it. If not that, he's reading about the game or administrating his local cricket club.