Whether it is AB de Villiers for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kagiso Rabada for Delhi Capitals, Faf du Plessis for Chennai Super Kings or Quinton de Kock for Mumbai Indians, IPL franchises are facing a headache in attempts to get their South African stars over to the UAE for this year’s delayed tournament.
With air travel restrictions in place in South Africa due to the increase in coronavirus cases, it was looking like an expensive and complicated process to bring each player over individually. Now — thanks to a little ‘team’ work — franchises are chipping in to charter a plane to bring over all the players from the Rainbow Nation.
An official of one of the franchises said that it is an idea that has been discussed informally and a final call will be taken once the IPL Governing Council (GC) meets on Sunday and gives the franchises a road map on the way forward going into the 13th edition of the league.
“We are aware that the South African players are somewhat stuck and we will take a call on them after the IPL GC meeting on Sunday. Informally we have had discussions and it is not restricted to one or two franchises. Almost all the franchises have top stars coming in from South Africa and it only makes sense to have them all fly in to UAE on a chartered plane and the franchises share the expense. A final call can only be taken by the franchises after Sunday,” the official explained.
Echoing the sentiments, another official said that rather than each franchise hiring a chartered plane, all South African players can be brought to UAE on a single flight. “Why would we want one plane to bring a player for one franchise and another for another franchise? At a time when travel restrictions are on and everyone is moving very cautiously, it is only practical that we have them all come in together in one plane,” the official said.
In fact, the BCCI was also expected to send in a team to the UAE before the IPL teams start heading to the country to do a recce of the arrangements made in the country as teams are looking to stay primarily in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. “You have around 15 of the top international chain of hotels spread across Abu Dhabi and Dubai and that is where we are looking to stay,” the official said. “We were told that the BCCI was looking to send in a team before we head to UAE.
“Not sure how that is placed now since there are no commercial flights going and chartered planes will be the way forward. But that should be no problem because over the years if there is something that we have seen when it comes to the IPL is the way the BCCI executes the plans and ensures that the tournament is held without even a minor hiccup.”