IPL 2020: 10 Indian Premier League things you won’t see in UAE
When IPL moves to UAE this year in the middle of Covid -19, cricket won’t be the same for players and the viewers. IPL will start to sanitised empty stands and with players in bio-secure bubbles, according to the draft of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) the Indian board has shared with the eight franchisees.
Here’s a peek at 10 IPL things, you will be missing in this edition…
1. We could get to see players and support staff in the stands adjoining the dressing room. This is to ensure physical distancing and avoid crowding the dressing room. So, goodbye to all those half-clothed cricketers singing, dancing or letting it rip in their private space.
SOP: It is important for players and staff to socially distance while in the dressing room. The Bio-Secure Environment means only essential staff will be on site and no members of the public will be allowed. Therefore there will be more vacant areas at the stadium and hence the dressing room does not have to remain within the traditional area.
2. No chance of players putting the team first and heroically battling fever. Remember Sachin Tendulkar chasing his 100th Test ton batting with a temperature at Lords in 2011? As per the SOP, players having fever would need to declare and self-isolate.
SOP: A player would only be permitted to train or play a match if they had a normal temperature and health status questionnaire. If they did not, they would be subject to COVID-19 testing and would have to self-isolate.
3. Those watching the Tests in England this summer may have got used to the new protocols at toss: cricketers holding microphones and talking into the camera. We won’t see captains walking out with team sheets. No sponsor mascots --- a common sight at IPL --- on the field either. But because it involves revenue, we may see a recorded version of the mascot at work.
SOP: At the toss, electronic team sheets should be considered. No mascots should be present. Social distancing should be maintained. There should be no handshakes. Television camera operators must maintain their distance.
4. Handshakes after match and packed press conferences will be a no-no. Media conferences will happen remotely with media in their own separate bubble. No chance of MS Dhoni calling a journalist over to his seat in a press conference and ask, hands around shoulder, ‘Do you think I can survive until the 2019 (next)World Cup?’
SOP: No handshakes or any contact between teams. Minimal on-field media may be present for post-match presentations, but technology may allow remote interviewing.
5. Stories of batsmen going out to bat with a teammate’s bat is stuff of legends. There won’t be scope for any such thing this time as sharing is not caring in these times.
SOP: Players and staff should only use their own equipment and there should be no sharing.
6. It happens only in IPL that famous franchise owners are seen interacting, strategising, celebrating post-match with their equally famous cricketers. We may not see Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta on the field of play or even mingling with players unless they decide to stay in the team bubble. Even the owners would have to go for quarantine, if they break rules.
SOP: Any franchise team owner who breaches the Bio-Secure protocols will have to quarantine for 7 days and return two negative PCR tests on Day 6 and Day 7, to be allowed to re-enter the Bio-Secure Environment. If the franchise team owners are not a part of the Bio-Secure Environment created for the players and team support staff, we recommend that video and remote conference call technology be used for interaction between team owners and members of the team within the Bio-Security Environment. If the franchise team owners are not a part of the Bio-Secure Environment, they are not permitted to travel on the same vehicle carrying players and team support staff to the venues for training and matches.
7. Players are allowed to be with families if their franchises permit but given the nature of restrictions in the bubble, there could be very few player-kids at games. MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and many other players’ families are generally part of the IPL caravan.
SOP: Families are not permitted to travel on the same vehicle carrying players and team support staff to the venues for training and matches. Families are not permitted to enter the PMOA and field of play at any time during training and matches. Any family member who breaches the Bio-Secure protocols will have to quarantine for 7 days and return two negative PCR tests on Day 6 and Day 7, to be allowed to re-enter the Bio-Secure Environment.
8. Captains won’t be interacting with pitch curators slipping in a quiet word on the exact nature of wicket they want for a home match. That’s because the ground staff won’t be at the ground when players train. There won’t be any home advantage either as no teams have a home base.
SOP: The ground staff will prepare the ground and the wickets outside of the team training sessions.
9. We should get used to watching physios and masseurs wearing the corona-warrior look. They will be wearing PPE kits all the time during treatment.
SOP: The Team Doctor, Team Physiotherapist, Masseur and the venue medical team should socially distanced but if assessment and treatment of a player is deemed essential and involves physical contact, or distancing of less than two metres, then the medical personnel should wear PPE. Eyewear and a facemask must be used for the whole session.
10. The IPL will possibly probability start without crowds as listed in the guidelines. That could change if, based on medical advice, the UAE government authorities deem it safe to allow a limited number of fans in. So, players won’t be able to feed off the crowd atmosphere this time.
SOP: BCCI is working with numerous agencies including the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), UAE authorities, medical experts, among others to look at conducting IPL 2020 behind closed doors. These guidelines may be amended from time to time as may be required depending on the existing COVID-19 situation in the country and the guidelines issued by the local health agencies and Government at appropriate times.