Several ICC elite panel umpires have reportedly turned down BCCI’s offer to officiate in this year’s Indian Premier League due to COVID-19 pandemic. IPL 2020 is scheduled to start on September 19. The entire tournament will be played in UAE due to the alarming coronavirus situation in India.
But the present situation in UAE is not promising either. The gulf country on its Covid-19 website informed that 735 new positive cases were diagnosed on Wednesday from a total of 79,623 tests. Since May 27, when the country announced 883 new positive cases, they had significantly flattened the curve.
But in the last few days, there has been a rise in positive cases. UAE football season, supposed to begin on Thursday, has been put off by 4 weeks. And amidst all these, the BCCI is struggling to hire the ICC elite panel umpires, according to The Times of India.
The Indian cricket board was keen on roping in the services of more umpires from ICC’s Elite panel but only three overseas Elite umpires have agreed, while others have turned down the request. As for the Elite panel of match referees, only Javagal Srinath is present.
BCCI usually hires around six foreign Elite umpires during an IPL season. There was an assumption that there would be more Elite umpires this season since there is no international cricket happening in the IPL window. However, the board is still pursuing the umpires.
“BCCI had approached quite a few Elite umpires but they have rejected the offer. For instance, Kumar Dharmasena, who has been a regular in IPL over the years, has categorically said no to BCCI. He said he would be busy with cricket in Sri Lanka,” a source was quoted as saying by the news outlet.
On the other hand, the other umpires have not clearly spelt out their objection but it is likely they are being cautious.
“The Elite panel umpires draw a heavy package from ICC’s contract. So, they are not exactly jobless. They don’t want to take any risk in these times,” the source added.
The three overseas umpires are Chris Gaffaney from New Zealand and Richard Illingworth and Michael Gough from England along with India’s Nitin Menon who recently made it to the ICC Elite Panel. All three overseas umpires have confirmed their availability for IPL 2020.
India’s International Panel umpires Anil Chaudhary, C Shamshuddin, Virender Sharma and KN Ananthapadmanabhan and former Elite panel umpire S Ravi are also on the list. While 12 umpires are entrusted with the on-field and TV umpire duties, three will only do the job of the fourth umpire.