Ahead of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, all the eight franchises have reached Dubai, most of the players have arrived too and are eagerly waiting to start training after the end of their mandatory 7-day quarantine period on reaching the UAE.

But what is baffling is, even though the date of commencement and duration of the tournament has been set by the BCCI, the cricket board has not yet released the schedule of the cash-rich league, something which the players and fans are impatiently waiting for.

According to a report in the Times of India, the reason behind this delay could be because the BCCI might be looking at putting a dynamic and flexible schedule for the IPL in place keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic.

There could be a couple of reasons why the board might go for a flexible schedule:

1) A total of 29 England and Australian players will be participating in the IPL time. Now, we know 20 of them will be engaged in a limited-over series in the UK, which ends on September 16, just three days before the IPL starts. As per BCCI SOPs, a player needs to be in quarantine for 7 days after reaching the UAE and have to undergo three COVID-19 tests during that period. This means the England and Australia players who will be involved in the limited over series with each other before the IPL, may not play in the first week of the tournament.

This would mean that the BCCI might have to plan first-week fixtures between teams which don’t depend majorly on the England and Australian players, in order to do justice. Although, recent reports say that if the England and Australian players continue to remain in their biosecure bubble from their series in the UK, they may be allowed to play from the beginning of the IPL with the condition that they test negative in the COVID tests.

2) In case a player tests positive for the virus during the tournament, he will be kept in isolation for two weeks. This would spell trouble for other players and teams the affected player has come in touch with and would lead to a possible change of fixtures.

The IPL will commence on September 19 and the final match of the tournament is scheduled for November 10. The matches will be held in three cities — Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

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