Cricket fans are slowly getting their platters served with cricketing action resuming in full force after a long hiatus due to COVID-19.

England defeated West Indies 2-1 in a test series in July, the Carribean Premier League in Trinidad and Tobago is ongoing and England will go into the third and final test of a series against Pakistan on Friday in Southampton, with a hope to win its first series against Pakistan in 10 years. And soon, the Aussies will arrive in the United Kingdom to play an ODI and T20I series, which ends on September 16.

The tricky situation here is that the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League commences on September 19 in UAE and Standard Operating Procedures issued by the BCCI says that players after reaching the gulf country need to be in quarantine for a week, during which three COVID-19 tests will be conducted on them. This means a lot of England and Australia players who are participating in the cash-rich league this season, may not be able to appear in the first week fixtures.

But such may not be the case, says Royal Challenger Bangalore (RCB) chairman Sanjay Churiwala. According to Churiwala, if IPL-bound England and Australia players, who are scheduled to reach late on September 17 for the tournament, continue to be in the biosecure bubble from the series in the UK and not come in contact with the general public, they can play the matches soon after reaching the UAE.

Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Churiwala said, “For the players landing after the England and Australia series, on September 17, that is very close to our matches. The BCCI have also issued very detailed SOPs and procedures to be followed by these players in terms of their participation. What the SOPs say very clearly [is] that they can participate without quarantine, provided they satisfy certain very stringent conditions. And they’re very, very stringent.

“Very clearly after the players have played the [international] series, they have to continue to be in the biosecure bubble. Right from the biosecure bubble, they have to go straight to the charter flight without getting into the extensive migration procedures, and without getting in touch with the general public,” Churiwala said.

“All these players will be travelling by exclusive charter flights. They will undergo tests before arrival and if everything is [fine], they’ll be fit to play the game. If not, of course, they will have to quarantine and have to undergo three rounds of tests before participating. Given that they [the group from the England-Australia series] are already serving a bio-bubble requirement, it will be an extended bio-bubble for them as and when they land. Under no circumstances are BCCI or franchise owners saying we will compromise on the procedures. I am very clear,” Churiwala added.

A total of 29 England and Australia players will participate in the IPL, 20 of whom will take part in the England-Australia series.

Teams that will get affected if the players are not allowed to play in the first week of the tournament:

Rajasthan Royals

Players who might miss out on first-week action: Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Andrew Tye, Jofra Archer, Tom Curran

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Players who might miss out on first-week action: Jonny Bairstow, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh

Kolkata Knight Riders

Players who might miss out on first-week action:  Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan and Tom Banton

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