The enormously increasing coronavirus cases in South Africa caused the country to seal its borders, preventing incoming and outgoing commercial flights altogether.
The situation has become a concern for the IPL franchise, because be it AB de Villiers for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kagiso Rabada for Delhi Capitals, Faf du Plessis for Chennai Super Kings or Quinton de Kock for Mumbai Indians, some of the top stars in the Indian Premier League (IPL) hail from South Africa.
And with the ongoing air travel restrictions in the Rainbow Nation, IPL teams are willing to pool in to get them all to fly into UAE on a chartered plane.
Speaking to IANS, an official of one of the franchises said that while the matter will be discussed in the Indian Premier League Governing Council meeting on August 02, there’s an informal agreement among franchises to pool in and bring the Proteas Stars on a chartered flight.
IPL teams to pool in and bring South African players to UAE
“We are aware that the South African players are somewhat stuck and we will take a call on them after the IPL GC meeting on Sunday. Informally we have had discussions and it is not restricted to one or two franchises. Almost all the franchises have top stars coming in from South Africa and it only makes sense to have them all fly into UAE on a chartered plane and the franchises share the expense. A final call can only be taken by the franchise’s after Sunday,” the official explained.
Echoing the sentiments, one of the officials cited that each franchise would be hiring a chartered plane, all South African players can be brought to UAE on a single flight. “Why would we want one plane to bring a player for one franchise and another for another franchise? At a time when travel restrictions are on and everyone is moving very cautiously, it is only practical that we have them all come in together in one plane,” the official said.
IPL teams to stay in Dubai or Abu Dhabi
In fact, the franchises are looking to keep the players in Dubai and Abu Dhabi only while cold-shouldering the choice of Sharjah. Since the number of top hotel chains and facilities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, none of the franchises reportedly wants to go as far as Sharjah for the players’ accommodation.
“Nobody is keen on staying in Sharjah. You have around 15 of the top international chain of hotels spread across Abu Dhabi and Dubai and that is where we are looking to stay. We were told that the BCCI was looking to send in a team before we head to UAE.” the official said
“Not sure how that is placed now since there are no commercial flights going and chartered planes will be the way forward. But that should be no problem because over the years if there is something that we have seen when it comes to the IPL is the way the BCCI executes the plans and ensures that the tournament is held without even a minor hiccup,” he added.