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IPL 2020: Majority of foreign players likely to miss first week

Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic the BCCI might have been successful to migrate this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but the availability of major foreign players  in the first week of the championship still remains a matter of concern for the franchises.

A total of 62 overseas cricketers are contracted by the eight IPL teams to play in this much-anticipated 13th edition of world’s most lucrative cricket league which will be played in September-November. However, according an initial estimate around 34 of those foreign players won’t be able to participate in the matches which will take place in the first week in order to comply with all the health related protocols imposed by the UAE government.

It is reported by the Times of India that all the players, support staffs and other stakeholders of the league will be required to go through a seven-day quarantine norm following their arrival in the country. Hence, players, who will be late in joining their respected teams due to their assignments for their national sides as well as in the other tournaments like Caribbean Premier League (CPL) or Lanka Premier League (LPL), won’t be able to feature in the initial few matches of IPL 2020, which is tentatively starting on September 19.

So, considering these circumstances the national cricketers from Australia and England will be late minimum by 1 week in starting their assignments in IPL as till September 16 they will be engaged in a bilateral series back in the United Kingdom.

Two Sri Lankan cricketers in IPL – Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians) and Isuru Udana (Royal Challengers Bangalore) – too will be late in joining their teams in UAE due to their commitments in the LPL.

The participation of the 10 Protea cricketers in IPL 2020, at least in the first week of the competition, is still doubt as as commercial flight service to and fro from South Africa is currently under suspension due to COVID-19 lockdown.

The CPL final is scheduled to take place on September 10. So, any player from the two participating teams might face the same problem if they travel to UAE for the IPL.

The franchises are likely to raise this issue in the IPL Governing Council meeting, scheduled to take place on August 2.

Sandipan Banerjee is a senior cricket journalist with experience stretching across more than a decade. Having founded a number of cricket information resources and prior experience of working in big-ticket events like ICC Cricket World Cup, IPL and ICC Champions’ Trophy; he joined the team at in 2019 to provide strategic guidance and to assume a brand ambassador role as principal correspondent. Due to Sandipan’s commitment towards the game, it’s safe to assume that if India are involved in a Test, ODI or a T20I, he’ll be there covering the match!

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