COO of Rajasthan Royals, Jake Lush McCrum, has stated that the BCCI updated their protocols earlier this week, which, according to him, will allow English and Australian players to skip quarantine. Currently, there are question marks over the availability of English and Aussie players for week one.
Australia’s limited-overs tour of England, scheduled to take place between September 4 and 16, has come as a headache for franchises and organizers of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as there is still an air of uncertainty over how exactly the players of the two countries should be integrated into the competition. While some franchises are of the opinion that the Aussie and English players must observe the mandatory 7-day quarantine upon arrival to UAE, the others, meanwhile, feel that the Australian and English cricketers should rejoin their respective franchises directly, owing to the players transporting themselves from one bio-bubble to another. (ECB to IPL).
But in what could potentially be a telling revelation, Jake Lush McCrum, COO of the Rajasthan Royals franchise, has now revealed that the BCCI, earlier this week, updated their protocols to allow the English and Australian cricketers directly join their respective IPL franchises. Should the revelation be true, it will be big news for the Royals, who are stacked with a plethora of English and Australian players, including Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer.
"The BCCI protocols have actually been updated in the last few days and I'm pleased to say our English and Australian stars playing in the series pre IPL should be available for our first IPL match. Either way, we have a quality squad with the depth to manage any situation," McCrum told ANI.
"The English and Australian players will be competing against each other in a high-quality series right before the IPL which has many positives, the most important being it will enable them to be at full match fitness. I'm sure they will hit the ground running in the UAE for the IPL," he added.
While, luckily and thankfully, there have been no positive cases of Covid-19 in the ongoing professional events in cricket, there is, however, a fear that the enormity of the IPL - total number of players involved, players flying in from different countries etc - could render the tournament vulnerable to the virus. McCrum has stated the franchise - and the tournament, as a whole - is well equipped to handle the worst-case scenario and spoke about the COVID taskforce that has been set-up.
"Suspected or positive cases will immediately be isolated from the team and the case will be managed by the team doctor in accordance with the IPL medical team. Contract tracing will begin immediately. The BCCI has put together a list of accredited hospitals that will be fully equipped to handle all such cases. All cases will however be treated as per set guidelines and protocols of the UAE government," McCrum said.
The Indian players from all franchises landed in UAE over the course of the last couple of days, after undergoing two Covid-19 tests prior to flying out to the Middle-East. Having now landed, they will once again undergo three more Covid-19 Tests, after which, should the result come out negative, they will be allowed to enter the bio-bubble and start training.