The decision to allow vaccinated fans, albeit in limited numbers in all three venues of the UAE for IPL 2021, sparked off a huge scramble for tickets online among the UAE residents on Thursday. Ticket sales have opened on IPLT20.com, official website of the league, and PlatinumList.net.
Mubashir Usmani, general secretary of Emirates Cricket Board, said in a statement: ‘‘As hosts, Emirates Cricket is delighted to welcome fans back to our stadia. This would not have been possible without the early actions and the ongoing efforts by the UAE authorities to dramatically reduce and manage the spread of CoVid19.
‘‘We have strict, approved protocols from the authorities of the Emirates in place to allow fans to watch the action live, including restricted and allocated seating and required Covid negative tests, which each stadium and their operations teams will be implementing and adhering to,’’ Usmani added.
It’s been after the 2019 season in India that fans - who form such an integral part of the spectacle that IPL is - will be back at the venues. The entire edition of IPL 2020 in the UAE, as well as the first half the 2021 season in India, were held behind closed doors due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The players’ fraternity are also quite excited at the news of return of the crowd - with particularly a few teams like Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore enjoying a huge following among the expat population.
Brendon McCullum, head coach of Kolkata Knight Riders, said in a recorded message: ‘‘It’s fantastic news, we were just talking about it in practice. I hope we will get jampacked venues with plenty of KKR fans...I believe there are plenty of them in the UAE.’’