With less a month remaining for the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the preparations for the tournament have been held up by new pandemic measures introduced by Abu Dhabi. The local authorities have put up stricter measures in response to a sudden spike in Covid-19 infections.
IPL organisers had told franchises they would deliver a fixture list for the 60-match tournament by August 20, but have still not provided it. The tournament is to start on September 19 and all the eight franchises are still in dark as far as the schedule is concerned.
In order to contain the Covid-19 cases, Abu Dhabi has introduced testing for the virus at its borders that has made travel into the emirate more time-consuming. Abu Dhabi is the base for two teams, Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, and is due to host 21 matches.
On the other hand, the two other venues – Dubai and Sharjah are to host 21 and 14 matches, respectively. Six of the eight teams are based in Dubai. According to reports, the IPL organisers are now mulling on reducing the number of games in Abu Dhabi.
At the moment, IPL governing council is working with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to resolve the matter, according to ESPNCricinfo. Abu Dhabi Cricket chief executive Matt Boucher told the news outlet that he did not think the border issue would be a major problem, as hundreds of people were using the border crossing every day with no issues.
Testing mandatory before every entering Abu Dhabi every time:
As far as local authorities are concerned, they want all the players and staff travelling into Abu Dhabi to return negative Covid-19 tests 48 hours before they get to the border. After the negative tests, the players and others will be able to use VIP lanes to get through quickly. This will apply both to teams coming into Abu Dhabi to play, and Abu Dhabi-based teams returning after playing in Dubai or Sharjah.
“The match schedule and the testing of the players need to be aligned,” Boucher told ESPNcricinfo. “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.”
The mandatory testing required for entering Abu Dhabi every time is set to make things only tougher for BCCI and ECB. Both the parties need to resolve the matter soon in order to start the tournament on time.
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