IPL 2020 : ‘Small number of fans can be allowed in IPL 2020’, says KingsXI Punjab’s Ness Wadia

The ball has started rolling and with the IPL Governing Council meeting on Sunday the way forward on IPL 2020 will be come in open. Big question on everyone’s mind would be, will the crowds be allowed in IPL 2020 or will be played behind closed doors in UAE. The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) already had declared that if local government and BCCI allows, IPL fans can be given entry into the stadiums. The KingsXI Punjab owner Ness Wadia is also of the same opinion. In an interview to Gulf News, Wadia said that BCCI can take a cue from NBA and can let in small percentage of fans in the stadiums in UAE but health security should be of paramount importance. 

‘‘The decision finally rests with the UAE government and the safety protocols there. I am told they have very sophisticated testing machinery there and even if they can look at a smaller percentage of fans as the NBA are doing it, it will be good. However, all of us want an uninterrupted IPL first’’ said Wadia to Gulf News. 

 ‘‘I maintain that if not daily, do the testing every second day. The reason being there is a difference between those who are tested and those who are not…we have to remember that we are playing under very difficult circumstances. We cannot afford to have any doubts about anyone.’’

Also Read : IPL 2020 : All you want to know about IPL 2020 schedule, rules players and franchise will follow this IPL

Meanwhile ECB has declared that UAE might consider allowing spectators in stadiums if the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) gives its consent. 

“Having spectators in stadiums is subject to government approval. We will have a detailed discussion before deciding anything. There’s still time and we might consider it” said, Mubashir Usmani, general sec of Emirates Cricket Board (ECB),  

IPL 2020 : ‘Franchise will have to manage its own logistics’ IPL GC Chairman Brijesh Patel

It was expected that the all travel and lodging arrangements for the franchises and the players will be managed centrally by the BCCI. But according to a report. Franchises will have to figure their own travel arrangements and accommodation in UAE. BCCI will coordinate with UAE authorities to ensure “discounted hotel rates” and share it with the franchises. It will then be the franchise’s discretion to settle for options provided by BCCI or make their own arrangements. Franchises will fly their players to UAE and back, as is the case during IPL in India every year.

“In all these years of IPL, the responsibility of accommodation, hospitality, travel etc – during the IPL – has been of the team owners. Nothing is going to change this year. The only change will be in the SOPs with regards to Covid,” GC chairman Brijesh Patel told TOI.

KXIP’S owner in unperturbed due at this new challenge. 

Wadia chose to play it down: ‘‘I don’t look at it as a crisis. We have always adapted – in 2009, we had to shift the tournament to South Africa at a short notice and in 2014, we had staged 20 matches in the UAE. You can say we are used to it.’’

The last time IPL came to the UAE in 2014, Kings XI Punjab looked in unstoppable form and ended up runners-up to Kolkata Knight Riders in the final – something which remains their best performance till date. Asked if he felt that the UAE could be their lucky charm, Wadia readily agreed: ‘‘Yes, it was a lucky charm. You must also remember that Glenn Maxwell did superlatively during the tournament.’’ 

For the IPL 2020, Wadia has predicted that with players like KL Rahul in the team KXIP will surely do well. 

We certainly hope to do well this time,’’ he rounded off.