IPL is back. The most loved sports event of the year was unfortunately delayed due to the pandemic. However, after this 6-month delay, it will start on September 19. It will end on November 10. But the important question is how has the coronavirus pandemic affected it?
New Location for a new IPL!
Indian Premier League will not be held in India. This decision comes as a result of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Whereas, the UAE has recorded far fewer cases and subsequent deaths. Therefore, this season like 2014 (which had some matches) will be held in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah.
The cricket board has not revealed detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) today. Nonetheless, the broad guidelines formed for the league and internal protocols prepared by a few teams confirm the differences that were expected.
Many instructions regarding hygiene are similar to the other sporting events that were similarly rescheduled. Players will have to carry their personal equipment like a water bottle or towel. This cannot be shared. Other advice includes dressing for training from their hotel rooms. A team has instructed players to avoid “handshakes, high-fives, tackling, sparring, etc” during the training routine. Moreover, wearing dark is compulsory, except for training.
Social Distancing in IPL
Furthermore, the training sessions will look be more different from the 2m social distancing rule. Players will have to keep a check on this at all times and places, while they practice. This will be ensured by Coaches. They are recommended to allow only a minimum number of players at nets at a time.
Additionally, the ground staff will wear protective equipment like masks and gloves. This is due to the rule that only allows them to hand the equipment.
IPL Coaches have new responsibilities
This new responsibility revolves around keeping a note of the player’s health. The coach has to ask his players whether they are feeling ill before each training session. Each case has to report. If a player confirms any symptoms or illness then he will be taken back to the hotel. Along with this, a special helpline will be instituted for Covid-19.
The backroom staff which includes physiotherapists have been provided with detailed instructions too.
More than one player will not be allowed in the room. In addition to this, they are told not to touch a player’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
Besides, players have advised a show before each physiotherapy and massage session.
To avoid interchanging of masks, the management will mark all the face masks with the respective player’s name.
Rules for the stay
All the teams will likely stay at different hotels. Socializing within teams is also restricted. In the hotel, doors and windows will be kept open. Air conditioners have to be operated only at a particular temperature and humidity.
One less player in the squad
The franchises are allowed a maximum of 25 players till the last season. However this time, 24 players will only be able to take part in the tournament.
Catering to the unique conditions, this time IPL will be 53 days long. This is in contrast to the previous duration of 49 days.
There are two prime reasons for this extension. Fewer afternoon matches are a result of the harsh climatic conditions of the gulf. The matches will start half an hour earlier. This is done keeping in mind the interest of the broadcaster.
Spectators in the stand
The Emirates Cricket Board has said that it will consider filling 30-50% of the stands. IPL is indeed a prestigious event and the board will seek its government permission to allow some fans in stands.
The Coronavirus Pandemic brought with itself many challenges. We are living in a ‘new’ normal. This has touched various aspects of our life now even much -loved IPL.