With the second leg of the Indian Premier League 2021 gaining momentum, new rules for IPL have been brought into place to ensure the season is pulled off without any glitch. The players have reached the Gulf country and begun preparation at full pace. However, the teams and their players will be required to keep in mind the extremely strict rules at all times. These rules are as follows –
- Bio-bubble will include the players’ family members and the owners of the franchise – Along with the players, their intimate circle and the owners of the teams will have to follow the rules of the bio bubble throughout the entire tournament. Only under highly necessary conditions can one exit the bubble. Even then, one can only exit after taking formal permission from the BCCI’s Chief Medical Officer.
- Hotels hosting the teams asked to be sealed off – To avoid any chances of physical interaction and to minimize mingling of players with people outside the team, BCCI has specified that teams should book entire hotels where the squad will be residing or at least a wing that will be sealed for outsiders.
- Introduction of Bio-Bubble Managers – To ensure that the stipulated rules are followed and there are no instances of violation of the bubble, a four-member team of ‘Bubble Integrity Managers’ will be assigned to each team. They will keep a vigilant check on the actions of the players and staff of each team and let the authorities know in case of a potential dereliction of the rules.
- Replacement Rule – Also as part of the new rules for IPL, specifications have been laid out for the ball, although past studies have shown that balls are not likely carriers of the Coronavirus. If a ball goes outside of the boundary or into the stand during a match, it would immediately be replaced with a new ball. Nevertheless, the replaced ball won’t be discarded. After being retrieved, it will be sanitized and kept for future use. This will make certain that the slightest chance of the virus spreading through the ball can be avoided.
- Three RT-PCR Test – To enter the bubble, it has been mandated that everyone not coming from another bubble will have to go through three RT-PCR tests over a span of seven days. Testing negative in all of them is the only way individuals will be allowed to join the bubble.
- Separate Check-ins – Special check-in counters will be earmarked for the players to fortify the measures against Covid. The players will have distinct counters to circumvent any opportunities of meeting any other people in their transit from room to field.
- Bubble-to-bubble – For the Indian players currently participating in the red ball series against England, BCCI has allowed some flexibility as they are already in a bubble and will therefore have the option to shift from one bubble to another without the intervening period of isolation required for other players.
With the new rules in place, IPL 2021 UAE leg will likely be a sixers-packed, energy-filled tournament. With every possible precaution to be taken, the only fear remaining is losing the winners’ cup.