Players from England and Australia, notably batsman Eoin Morgan and fast bowler Pat Cummins, will be available for Kolkata Knight Riders’ first match of IPL 2020, franchise CEO Venky Mysore confirmed on Friday.
Amid fears that players of these two countries, who are playing an ODI series in England, might miss the first or second match of the season, due to the mandatory six-day quarantine policy kept in place in BCCI, Mysore informed there will be no need for them to undergo quarantine considering the players are travelling from one bio-secure environment to another.
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“While they are still negotiating with the authorities, we are reconciled to the fact that we may have to quarantine our three players,” Mysore told ESPNcricinfo. “They arrive on September 17, but our first game is on September 23, by which time they would’ve finished their [concessional six-day] quarantine. So, it’s worked out well, and it’s good for the tournament.”
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With two-time Champions KKR set to open their campaign almost a week after the first match of IPL, it gives the franchise enough time to put things in place. The KKR team is staying in Abu Dhabi, but since Dubai has no mandatory quarantine unless a player tests positive, it makes things easier for KKR and their two most important overseas players, Morgan and Cummins, both of whom are currently playing the three ODI series in England and are expected to be two biggest trump cards of the team this year.
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“What we did was put a plan together and shared it with the medical team at the IPL,” Mysore said. “We told them, ‘they’re in a bio-secure bubble in UK. What if we brought them on a sanitised charter flight and we took care of all the elements of immigration, testing, contactless stuff and everything to allow them to come right into a bubble here?’ To give credit to IPL, they took it very constructively and they have a written Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for that, which says if you’re coming from a bubble to another bubble, you don’t need the mandatory quarantine period.”
The ODI series between England and Australia end on September 16, and right on the next day, Mysore revealed, the plan is to bring the players in and monitor their progress, going into the most minute details of their travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.
“We’re bringing all our players on a charter straight to Abu Dhabi. Even smallest of detail like how they will go from hotel to airport – they go in a bus with driver who is part of the bubble – straight to the tarmac. That is the level of detailing we have gone into, because of which they have waived the quarantine period,” Mysore said.