IPL players earning millions, WC blind cricketers in extreme poverty: Sukhram Manjhi
After months of no sports activities in India, there is a ray of positive news for all Indians as the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to start from September 19 in the United Arab Emirates. With COVID-19 cases rapidly rising in the country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to hold 13th edition of the T20 tournament in UAE from September 19 to November 18. Players will reportedly head to the Middle East 25 days prior to the start of the tournament to stay in quarantine.
#IPL Teams and Players will reach 1 month before #IPL2020 starts.. To start training.. Mid-August.. #IPL2020 starts in Sep..— Ramesh Bala (@rameshlaus) July 23, 2020
3 Stadiums in #UAE - Dubai International Stadium, Sheikh Zayed Stadium (Abu Dhabi) and the Sharjah ground will be used..
Practice also in ICC Academy..
Foreign players have already started receiving no-objection certificates (NOCs) from their respective boards to participate in IPL 2020. According to reports, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) was the first to announce that its players will be allowed to head to UAE for the tournament. Cricket South Africa (CSA) soon followed suit, announcing South African players will also receive NOCs to play in IPL 2020.
Despite the latter willing to allow its players to head to UAE, there is a real possibility that the IPL 2020 will be played without South African players. South Africa is currently suffering the same fate as India, with COVID-19 cases rapidly rising in the country. The country has confirmed over 420,000 cases and a death toll north of 6,000. With the African nation is struggling to contain the pandemic, the South African government re-imposed lockdown in the country, restricting all foreign flights since the last few months. This means, even if players are allowed to participate by CSA, they might not be allowed to leave the South African borders, unless the government relaxes its travel restrictions.
If BCCI fails to come to an agreement with South Africa, the likes of AB de Villiers and Imran Tahir will be thoroughly missed during the IPL 2020. Currently, 10 South African players have been contracted by different IPL franchises for the 13th edition - AB de Villiers (RCB), Chris Morris (RCB), Dale Steyn (RCB), Quinton de Kock (Mumbai Indians), Faf du Plessis (CSK), Imran Tahir (CSK), Lungi Ngidi (CSK), Kagiso Rabada (Delhi Capitals), David Miller (Rajasthan Royals) and Hardus Viljoen (Kings XI Punjab).
RCB and CSK will be the teams most affected by the absence of South African players in IPL 2020. Both teams' foreign contingent includes three players, all of whom are marquee players. RCB, whose batting strength relies heavily on AB de Villiers, will be forced to look for other options to replace the veteran cricketer. Meanwhile, CSK will be without two of their strike bowlers -Imran Tahir and Lungi Ngidi.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it could prove really difficult for teams to find suitable replacements for the South African players as travel rules of each country will also have to be taken into consideration before selections and not just budget. However, with the tournament not scheduled to start until September, there is adequate time for BCCI to sort out an understanding with the South African board, especially considering CSA is already willing to grant its players NOCs.
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