IPL 2020: Despite lockdown, all clear for South African cricketers to fly to UAE

Updated: 12 August, 2020 07:37 IST | Harit N Joshi | Mumbai

South African cricketers get government clearance to fly for UAE IPL despite their country in total lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic

Chennai Super Kings's Faf du Plessis in full flow during last year's Indian Premier League final v Mumbai Indians at Hyderabad. PIC/AFP
Chennai Super Kings's Faf du Plessis in full flow during last year's Indian Premier League final v Mumbai Indians at Hyderabad. PIC/AFP

South African players have been given the green signal to fly out to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the Indian Premier League. With South Africa in total lockdown due to rising COVID-19 cases and passenger flights suspended indefinitely, there were doubts whether their cricketers would be granted permission to play in the IPL.

"We have got information that they [South African cricketers] have got the approval [from their government]. They will join us in Dubai during the first week of September," Chennai Super Kings CEO Kasi Viswanathan told mid-day on Tuesday.

It could not be ascertained how the SA players will fly to the UAE and Viswanathan did not provide details about whether a chartered flight will be sent to get CSK's Faf du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir to Dubai.

The SA trio are likely to miss the first week of CSK's training camp in Dubai, but Viswanathan is not worried about that. "They have been training together for quite some time; have had regular training camps. So, they are all in the groove," he said.

IPL-13 kicks off on September 19 with the final scheduled on November 10. Ten SA cricketers will be seen in action during the IPL. CSK and Royal Challengers Bangalore have the maximum SA players in their squad—three each. AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Chris Morris are crucial to RCB's team composition. The other SA players are Kagiso Rabada (Delhi Capitals), Quinton de Kock (Mumbai Indians), David Miller (Rajasthan Royals) and Hardus Viljoen (Kings XI Punjab).

Cricket South Africa has already issued the No Objection Certificates to their players to participatie in the IPL. Du Plessis's sensational knock had helped CSK enter their seventh IPL final in 2018 after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium.

Meanwhile, CSK's management has decided not to allow family members of their players at least until the first half of the IPL. "At this point in time, we don't want them to take the risk. Maybe later, depending on the situation," said Viswanathan. In another development, the BCCI is set to do a recce of the UAE after completing the new title sponsor process on August 18. The main purpose behind the BCCI officials visiting the UAE is to get first-hand experience of the bio-secure bubble. The Indian board may also set up a temporary office in Dubai to ensure smooth functioning of the tournament.

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First Published: 12 August, 2020 06:25 IST

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