All 12 Indian and three foreign umpires, besides five Indian match referees, have tested negative ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The match officials underwent the mandatory COVID-19 tests as per the local government’s requirement of the three venues – Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai – where 56 league games will take place until the 3rd of November.
Upon arriving in the UAE, the IPL conducted 1,988 RT-PCR tests between 20 and 28 August. Those tested included players, support staff, team management, BCCI staff, IPL operational team, hotel and ground transport staff. Earlier this month, 13 personnel of Chennai Super Kings people including two players tested positive following which they were isolated from the rest of the contingent.
An IPL representative highlighted that the COVID-19 protocols are the strictest in the UAE amongst other emirates. The current spike of infection in the country alarmed local officials and organizers, leading to a mandatory testing of those entering each borders. Earlier, ECB is working with the UAE government to figure out a protocol for allowing crowds at venues.
“Since the Covid-19 protocols in Abu Dhabi are the strictest of the three emirates, a set of umpires and referees will be permanently based there. And because there are no travel restrictions between Dubai and Sharjah, the officials stationed in Dubai will do games at both places; it will be a mix-and-match policy,” the source told a news portal.
The 12 Indian umpires are: Anil Chaudhary, C. Shamshuddin, Virender Sharma, K.N. Ananthapadmanabhan, Nitin Menon, S. Ravi, Vineet Kulkarni, Yashwant Barde, Ulhas Gandhe, Anil Dandekar, K Srinivasan, and Pashchim Pathak. The overseas umpires are: Richard Illingworth of England, former Australian seam-bowling all-rounder Paul Reiffel, and Christopher Gaffaney of New Zealand.
The 13th edition of the cash-rich tournament will be played on September 19 in the United Arab Emirates this year due to a surge in coronavirus cases in India. Defending champions Mumbai Indians to kick-start the competition against Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi. The upcoming 53-day edition is by far the longest in the history of the league and will be staged behind closed doors
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