Ceiling on gatherings eased to facilitate Independence Day celebrations across Jammu and Kashmir

Express News Service

CHENNAI: After the cancellation of the fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford in Manchester on Friday, Saturday was an extremely hectic day for all the IPL franchises. They were busy making arrangements to ensure that the India and England players, part of the IPL, join the respective franchises in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as early as possible. 

While the Mumbai Indians trio of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Suryakumar Yadav were flown to Abu Dhabi on a private charter flight on Saturday morning, a few players from other teams reached later in the day. 

Originally, the IPL-bound players were supposed to travel to UAE from Manchester on September 15, a day after the scheduled close of the fifth Test. 

Even though all the Indian players had tested negative for Covid in Manchester, Rohit, Bumrah and Suryakumar were tested upon arrival in Abu Dhabi too and returned negative results again. The players flying from Manchester have to undergo six days of hard quarantine before joining their teams in the IPL bubble. 

“The trio (Rohit, Bumrah and Suryakumar), along with their families, arrived on Saturday morning. All members had returned negative RT-PCR results before departure. A new RT-PCR test was undertaken upon arrival at Abu Dhabi, which is negative as well,” the Mumbai Indians said in a statement on Saturday. 

ALSO READ | England vs India: Manchester Test cancellation all about money and IPL, says Michael Vaughan

The IPL-bound Indian players were initially supposed to enter a bubble in Manchester before the fifth Test in order to facilitate a bubble-to-bubble transfer in the UAE but that did not materialise given the circumstances. They will be tested thrice during the first six days of hard quarantine. 

The resumption of the suspended IPL begins with Mumbai Indians taking on Chennai Super Kings in Dubai on September 19. CSK are currently training in Dubai, where they will be joined by five players from the India-England series: Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shardul Thakur, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran. “The players are travelling on a commercial flight. They will be able to start training with the team only after completing quarantine,” a CSK official said. 

Moeen and Curran might be heading to the IPL, but quite a few English players seem to be reluctant. Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings) and Chris Woakes (Delhi Capitals) pulled out of the IPL on Saturday and there seems to be a concern that more England players could potentially pull out. Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer (injury) and Ben Stokes had already confirmed their unavailability for the resumption of the IPL. 

A source close to Delhi Capitals indicated that there is uncertainty over Sam Billings and Tom Curran joining the franchise too. 

“We are not sure whether Billings and Curran will join us. Woakes has pulled out citing bubble fatigue. He wanted to spend time with his family. We are looking at an Australian left-arm pacer as a possible replacement,” the source told The New Indian Express.