Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises are considering putting up their players and support staff in resorts, instead of five-star hotels as is the norm, during this year’s tournament in the UAE, in order to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus through shared air-conditioning ducts.
Some franchises, like Sunrisers Hyderabad, have already got in touch with golf resorts after some players expressed apprehension about staying in crowded five-star hotels.
Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, meanwhile, are likely to set up camp in Abu Dhabi, which is more secluded. MI are even considering renting an entire apartment complex, according to sources.
It has been established in some studies that the virus can spread through ducts of centrally air-conditioned buildings. IPL sources say there is a fear that even if teams reserve a particular wing of a hotel, it may still expose players to the virus through AC ducts.
“It’s not easy to screen everyone in the hotel all the time. Here, we are talking about over 60 days,” a source said. “The resorts in Dubai are high end. Arranging single-occupancy rooms will be much easier.”
BCCI’s general SoPs for state teams says: “If staying at a hotel, the players should be isolated from the rest of the hotel guests by segregating them in a separate block or particular floor/s. The players should be kept in single-occupancy rooms. Hotel should be close to the ground where the camp is to be conducted.”
It’s unlikely there will be much subtraction from these SOPs for IPL.
Foreign stars want golf activities
TOI has learnt that some of the star foreign players have requested access to golfing facilities for recreation on off days, although the Indian cricket board (BCCI) hasn’t agreed to the proposal yet.
The players believe there’s no harm in playing golf for leisure, especially if they are put up in resorts. Their argument is that golf is a sport that is ideal for social distancing. Interestingly, UK and Australia have allowed golfing activities.
Confusion still reigns over the IPL’s player-replacement policy. Although there won’t be a cap on the number of Covid replacements, there are some concerns about the players who could come in. “A player can’t just fly out of the blue and join the team. You can’t cap replacements but they have to be monitored somehow,” a BCCI source said.
“ICC’s guidelines resemble the concussion-replacement rule but we are talking about an entire season here. There could be a registered pool of players from which replacements could be picked. Maybe the franchises could come together and agree on the pool. It could be the players who went unsold in the auctions.”