With the pandemic beginning to dwindle thanks to the continuous efforts put forward by the front liners and citizens alike, the city is blossoming into the new post-pandemic era. Businesses are reopening, and there is a gradual increase in customer capacity and removal of a few minor restrictions. Other prominent ‘welcome back’ steps include the return of tourism and hosting international events in the country (UFC and now IPL). The ‘welcome back’ phase is not only an announcement by the country proving its efforts in the face of a global pandemic but also acts as a ray of happiness for people looking forward to enjoying life as it once was before being engulfed by COVID restrictions and lockdowns.
Cricket is a widely celebrated event idolized and anticipated by a large portion of the sporting world. The bat and balling game is a massive hit amongst its Asian fan base and other parts of the globe. The IPL teams are a perfect summary and example of what UAE is described to be (a diverse melting pot of culture, heritage, race and nationalities). Here is a rundown of all the updates on the upcoming event taking place in UAE.
For starters, the scheduled date for IPL 2020, is between 19th September to 10th November 2020. All matches will be held in three different stadiums around UAE, namely, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium and Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium. Each team is to play 14 matches starting with Mumbai Indians VS Chennai Super Kings on 19th September 2020 and the final match on 10th November 2020.
A total of 8 teams are expected to begin arriving in UAE from 20th August onwards. Adjustments have been made to the match timings as well, with day matches beginning at 3:30 PM IST (2:00 PM UAE local time) and the evening matches starting at 7:30 PM IST (6:00 PM UAE local time). A maximum number of 24 players per team are allowed to fly to the UAE.
The star studded squad of the T20 tournament include 8 teams, namely:
- Chennai Super Kings (CSK)
- Mumbai Indians (MI)
- Delhi Capitals (DC)
- Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
- Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRH)
- Kings XI Punjab (KXIP)
- Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
- Rajasthan Royals (RR)
Due to the current situation, strict quarantine and safety precautions have been put in place both in India and UAE. There is a high possibility that the matches may be played without an audience. Players and teams will be hosted in resorts and private living quarters (serviced apartments) instead of five-star hotels in order to maintain maximum level security. In the case of a player being infected by COVID-19, authorities have granted permission to teams allowing them to replace players.
India: All parties (players and support staff) need to undergo a minimum of 5 COVID test that results in a negative before they will be allowed to start their training in the UAE. Involved parties will further be tested after every five days throughout the tournament. In the case of a positive test, players will be asked to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine and be tested for COVID twice at the end of the quarantine duration, within 24 hours.
UAE: Upon the team’s arrival in the UAE, a minimum of three negatives will be required during the 7-day quarantine period in the country. Players that pass the COVID test can then enter the Bio-Bubble to begin their training and may also meet with other players/staff members that have passed the test.
The bio-bubble or the bio-secure environment refers to the set of measures and conditions put in place for the safety and well-being of players. The main aim of this secure environment is to isolate players from the outside world during the tournament, minimizing the risk of getting infected and falling sick. Contact with non-VIP personnel like visitors, fans, friends, and people outside the player's tournament-related staff will be restricted. Furthermore, movement within the bio-bubble will be fluid and continuous, avoiding any unnecessary crowding and gathering. Clear marked paths designated for the players to enter and exit the stadium will help in keeping the movement smooth and orderly.