Abu Dhabi Cricket officials have created a premier 'air-bridge facility’ for Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders to kick start their practice sessions at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Abu Dhabi cricket CEO Matt Boucher has also added that they have a completely sterile facility in place.
Ever since the new regulations laid down by the Abu Dhabi government after a rise in Covid-19 cases across emirates, there have been stringent measures in place for the teams but the most affected have been Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, who have set up their base in Abu Dhabi, unlike the six other teams who are in currently in Dubai.
ESPN Cricinfo reported that to keep up with the practice sessions and ensure smooth conduct of the camp, the local cricket officials have developed an "airbridge facility", where 15,000 square-metre area has been marked for both the teams to do their net practise in the 15 nets available. An 11,000 square-metre football field for physical training has also been cordoned off to keep it isolated from the outside world.
"They have been training there since the eighth day of being in Abu Dhabi, so that's seven days of training in what we call the 'airbridge facility'. It's a 15,000 square-metre extension of their quarantine, a place for them to have full-fledged training sessions. And they return to the hotel and utilise the team rooms, and they come back to the air bridge facility the next day," Matt Boucher, CEO of Abu Dhabi cricket, told ESPNcricinfo.
"Once we receive those four test reports [one prior to reaching the UAE, and then three more in six days], the government approves the teams to expand their quarantine facility to outside the hotel with a very strict passage from hotel to bus and bus to Abu Dhabi Cricket [the stadium]. It's a strict facility, where only the players and the teams' support staff are allowed in.”
The facility will undergo a complete sanitization after one team leaves the facility and social distancing norms, put up by the BCCI in their Standard Operating Procedure, will be followed as well.
"One team comes in first and trains for a while, two-three hours, and the other comes in after that. Social distancing norms are in place, sanitisation norms are in place. We sanitise the entire facility before the next team arrives, everything is freshened up and sanitised for the next team. It's a completely sterile facility," Boucher explained.