Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari and the support staff led by head coach Ravi Shastri are likely to have a six-day quarantine in Dubai during the business end of the IPL before flying off to Australia. India are set to travel to Australia with a jumbo squad comprising 23 to 25 playing members across formats considering the requirements of the series to be played in bio-bubble amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BCCI is trying to work out the logistics to smoothly transfer the squad from one bio-bubble in the UAE to another in Australia where they might have to go for a two-week quarantine unless the rules are relaxed. While there was a plan that coaching staff and non-IPL players will leave directly for Australia, an alternate plan is being worked out.
“The most feasible plan right now looks like entire team flying together from Dubai in one chartered flight. For that, the two Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, along with our coaching staff of Ravi Shastri, Bharath Arun, Vikram Rathour and R Sridhar will arrive in Dubai, most probably at the end of this month,” a BCCI source, currently in Dubai, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“In all likelihood, the non-IPL players and the coaching staff along with other support staff, would have to undergo a six-day quarantine with a separate bubble being created for them. They will also undergo tests on Days 1, 3 and 6. Once IPL is over, the squad will come together and fly out Down Under,” he said.
The plan is easier to manage logistically as most of the players who will be boarding the flight to Australia are playing in the protected environment of the IPL.
“Most of the playing members are in a secured bio environment. So it’s more feasible that we organise the bio-secure environment for the remaining contingent in Dubai itself for smooth operational purposes,” the source said. Cricket Australia had sent an initial itinerary for the tour but as of now there is possibility that dates and venues could change as per the COVID-19 situation in the country.
It is still not clear that what will be India’s port of entry — Adelaide, Perth or Melbourne and the duration of quarantine period (training included) is being discussed with Cricket Australia.