IPL 2020: UAE ready with plans, awaits official word from BCCI

Mubashshir Usmani, the general secretary of Emirates Cricket Board, says BCCI will have access to all facilities. There is still no clarity on spectators.

All eyes will be on Mahendra Singh Dhoni (left) when he returns to action after a gap of more than a year.   -  FILE PHOTO/PTI

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to approach the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) officially to host this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE.

But the Emirates Board is already on its toes to organise the franchise league, scheduled to commence from September 19.

“In April, we had written to the BCCI, expressing interest to host the IPL. We will be happy to extend all help for the tournament,” Mubashshir Usmani, the general secretary of Emirates Cricket Board, told Sportstar from Dubai on Saturday.

READ| IPL 2020 in UAE to start on September 19, final on November 8

“We are yet to hear from the BCCI officially. We have heard the statements by Brijesh Patel (IPL Governing Council chairman) in the media and we welcome it. At the ECB, we are ready to support the BCCI. Once we officially hear from them, we will actively get into the preparation process, seeking necessary government approvals.”

UAE’s domestic D10 League started from Friday and is slated to run till August 7 in Dubai and Usmani believes the tournament will help them prepare for the IPL. Usmani also elaborated on other procedures that will be put in place for the smooth running of the IPL.

Excerpts...

What will be the protocols for teams?

We have set some standard protocols for the D10 League and if the teams want to come here a month in advance, we will extend all those protocols. We will take more precautions and make things even better, following government and ICC guidelines.

Will there be spectators at venues?

We will propose a few plans to our governments and will seek their approval on what protocols need to be followed to host the entire tournament. As far as fans’ entry is concerned, we would want our Asian diaspora in the UAE and also the Emiratis to come and watch the IPL. They are excited to see such a prestigious event. We will ask the government to allow some flexibility to ensure fans at the venues. The curfew has been lifted in Dubai and even tourists are allowed. (There are still protocols and restrictions in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.)

In restaurants, 30 to 50 per cent occupancy is permitted in Dubai, with proper social distancing and other safety measures. In malls and other places, the numbers are even higher, so we are hopeful of allowing some fans.

Will there be a bio-bubble?

We will have to submit at least two or three plans to the government and we will have to see what they say.

Will there be travel restrictions?

With UAE opening its airports and allowing tourists, a quarantine is not required if people travelling here carry a negative COVID-19 report. If your reports are negative then you are allowed to move freely (Tests will be arranged for those who fail to provide the report. Players and stakeholders will also need to download the DXB app to follow the health and safety protocol).

What about the practice facilities?

As an associate member nation, we have some of the best facilities. We have three grounds, in which there are two Ovals. The ICC Academy and the Abu Dhabi facility have their own practice grounds. The ICC Academy is the world’s biggest practice facility. In Dubai, the ICC Academy has 38 wickets, including a few simulated turfs. There are eight teams, but it won’t be a problem in facilitating their training.

What about the team base?

We will give BCCI options and it is up to them to decide. They have access to everything and we will support them. Multiple options will be given in terms of accomodation too. (Some of the franchises indicated that teams are likely to stay in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and will travel to Sharjah by road whenever needed.)

How will the weather be?

In October-November, the weather is usually very pleasant. By the time IPL starts, winters will be approaching in this part of the world.

  Dugout videos