CHENNAI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is discussing the possibility of hosting a camp for its contracted players before the Indian Premier League (IPL). As reported by this newspaper, United Arab Emirates remains the first choice to host this year’s IPL in October, if the situation doesn’t improve in Mumbai. The board is looking at Dubai for the national camp, if UAE is finalised as the host.
Clarity on this will emerge after the July 17 Apex Council meeting, as the BCCI is yet to finalise its Standard Operating Procedures with regards to resuming cricketing activities. The Indian team management had informed the BCCI earlier that it wants at least a six-week training camp before featuring in any series. There are no international fixtures lined up at the moment other than a tour of Australia towards the end of the year. The BCCI wants to host the IPL in October-November.
While the franchises will have their own camps before IPL, the BCCI is understood to be looking at a short camp to assess the fitness of the players. But it is not going to be an easy task because of time constraints. For starters, if the IPL begins in late September or October, the franchises would expect the players to join at least three weeks in advance. This means the BCCI has to find time to host the national camp by September first week at least. Current restrictions in India make this logistically challenging.
That is why the BCCI reckons that the International Cricket Council Academy in Dubai will be the best place for the camp, as players can join the franchises without any hassle. “By the looks of it, UAE will mostly host the IPL, unless the situation improves dramatically in Mumbai. So the camp there makes more sense in every way possible. Once the IPL venue is decided, then expect things to move forward quickly,” sources following developments told this newspaper.
While the team management might not be able to host a longer camp, there are indications that the support staff of the national side will be free to stay back in UAE for a week to keep an eye on the players. Though the players won’t be able to report to them once they join their respective franchises, the support staff can keep a tab on their progress.