Rajasthan Royals players pose for a photo at Dubai International Airport on Thursday.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
The UAE rolled out the red carpet for a grand welcome for two of the eight IPL teams, who arrived in the country on Thursday.
Rajasthan Royals became the first team to touch down on the shores of the UAE. They heralded their arrival by sharing the pictures of their players and staff before the departure, after boarding the flight and upon their arrival in the UAE on their social media platforms.
This is the first batch of the IPL teams, who have descended on the UAE. Other teams are scheduled to arrive over an extended weekend.
A Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings are expected to come on Friday.
A star-studded Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are also scheduled to arrive in the early hours of Friday morning, boarding their flight from Mumbai.
The teams are coming to the UAE one month in advance to get acclimatize to the conditions after serving a mandatory quarantine period.
Rajahstah Royals players share their photo on social media ahead of the departure.
On their arrival, the players and other supporting staff of all the teams will be tested for COVID-19 three times before going into a mandatory quarantine period of one week.
First they will be tested upon their arrival at the airport. The second test will be conducted on the third day and the final test will done on the sixth day of their arrival. And there will be a follow-up test every fifth day to ensure the safety of the players and the staff.
Once all three tests show negative results, players will be allowed to attend training sessions in a bio-secure bubble after completing a quarantine period of one week in their hotel rooms.
Kings XI Punjab players share their picture on social media after boarding a flight.
The ICC Academy in Dubai and Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi will provide the teams with top-class amenities to prepare their players for cricket’s biggest extravaganza.
The teams are coming to the UAE one month in advance to acclimatise themselves to the conditions with an eye on a mandatory quarantine period of six days.
However a strict protocol has to be followed by the teams. All the teams’ members flying to the UAE have to provide a negative COVID-19 test report, not before 96 hours prior to their arrival.
A delayed IPL has been shifted to the UAE in the wake of the rising cases of the coronavirus in India, where it was originally slated to be held in April-May.
The coronavirus outbreak brought the entire world to a grinding halt. Sports were the worst hit across the globe.
Many big tournaments like Australian Open, Formula One races, football leagues around the world, athletics, MotoGP races were either cancelled or postponed.
Rajahstah Royals players arrive at Dubai International Airport on Thursday.
Even the Dubai World Cup and World T20, which was to be held in Australia later this year, were cancelled. It is only after the cancellation of the World T20 BCCI decided to shift the IPL outside the country.
Because that was the only window, which was left to host an event of such a big stature. IPL 2020 will be played from Sept. 19-Nov.10.
Earlier, Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary Emirates Cricket Board, said he is still hopeful that the fans will be allowed in the later stages of the tournament.
“As a host, we will work closely with the authorities to seek approval on what protocols need to be followed, this includes fan attendance also.
“We will then discuss with the BCCI to assess their spectator requirements. We want our Asian diaspora, as well as the other expat and Emirati sports-loving fans (in the UAE) to be able to watch the action from the stands,” said Usmani.
Commenting on the bio-secure bubble, he said: “The BCCI are finalising a detailed SOP surrounding these arrangements and we will present this to the authorities for their approval.”
Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab flew in with the high hopes of repeating their 2014 feat, when they remained unbeaten in all their matches in the UAE leg of the IPL.
The 2014 season still remains their best finish in the IPL as they lost in the final against KKR to end as runners-up. Kings XI Punjab will staying at the Sofitel Palm, Dubai.
IPL was shifted to the UAE in 2014 also in the wake of general elections, when the then home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde refused to provide security to the players due to the elections. A total of 20 matches were played in the UAE across three venues: Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Monday that they have received the official Letter of Intent from the BCCI to host the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner has hailed the IPL as the best T20 tournament in the world, saying his stint with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has helped him get better at his craft.
The postponement of the Twenty20 World Cup until 2021 because of the coronavirus has opened the way for the suspended IPL to go ahead after multiple delays as the pandemic spread this year.
Both teams will first meet in two 50-over warm-up games on Dec.25 and 27 respectively, and is followed by three T20Is scheduled to be played on Dec.29 and 31, plus on Jan.2 at Sharjah International Cricket Stadium.
Leaders Al Wasl will look to consolidate their position on the top of the table when they take on rivals Al Wahda in their Round 10 match of the Pro League on Friday.
CEO Mauro Gianetti emphasised the team's role in driving positive social impact and supporting the UAE's decarbonisation goals through a comprehensive sustainability programme.