File image of MS Dhoni batting during a CSK net session (TOI Photo)
NEW DELHI: Indian Premier League (IPL) teams are planning to take their own practice bowlers to the United Arab Emirates as the bio-secure ‘bubble’ surrounding the Twenty20 tournament prevents them from using local cricketers, franchise officials told Reuters.
The IPL was scheduled to begin in late March but was indefinitely postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak before being switched to the UAE earlier this month.
Strict bio-security measures are being put in place for the 53-day tournament, which begins on September 19, and the IPL’s eight teams will have to arrange their own net bowlers while maintaining the league’s health protocols.
“We’re planning to take around 8-10 net bowlers,” Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Chief Executive Kasi Viswanathan said by telephone.
“We have a list of players from Tamil Nadu to pick from and most of them will be first class cricketers.”
CSK would hold a training camp in Chennai from Sunday before flying to UAE on August 21, he added.
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Kings XI Punjab Chief Executive Satish Menon confirmed they too would fly with their own set of net bowlers.
“Around seven of them will join the players in Delhi and Bangalore before we leave on the 20th,” he told Reuters.
Delhi Capitals said they were yet to finalise how many net bowlers they would take when the players fly out next week.
“We haven’t made a decision on how many, but there will be net bowlers travelling with us,” Chief Executive Dheeraj Malhotra told Reuters.
Kolkata and Rajasthan franchises will also follow suit, according to local media reports.
However, Rajasthan will have to fly without fielding coach Dishant Yagnik, who has tested positive for Covid-19. He must return five negative results — two in India and three in the UAE — before he can rejoin the side.
Punjab dismissed media reports that batsman Karun Nair had recently recovered after contracting Covid-19.
“He had some mild fever, that’s all. Nothing to do with coronavirus. He’s perfectly alright,” franchise CEO Menon said.