The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is all set to get underway with a blockbuster opening fixture featuring Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. The two former champions were scheduled to meet in the opening match before the tournament was postponed from April-May due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Contrary to media reports, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is confident of starting the tournament with the marquee clash featuring MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma’s men, the board sources have told India Today. BCCI is hoping the concerns around the Covid-19 positive cases should be under control by the time the tournament starts on September 19.
The BCCI is likely to announce the much-anticipated scheduled for IPL 2020 on Saturday, September 5. The 13th edition of the tournament is set to be played from September 19 to November 10 across 3 cities in the UAE – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
There were doubts over Chennai Super Kings’ availability for the opening fixture as 13 of their members, including 2 players, tested Covid-19 positive during the mandatory 6-day quarantine period in Dubai. However, all the remaining members tested negative for the virus in the 1st of the 2 additional tests. The said group will take the 2nd Covid-19 test on Thursday.
CSK likely to resume training on Friday
Chennai Super Kings are the only team to have not begun training after arriving in the UAE. However, CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan said the team is likely to begin training in Dubai from Friday, provided all the other members test negative for Covid-19 in Thursday’s test. Viswanathan also said CSK will be ready to play the opening fixture, if required.
CSK were also dealt a major blow as their vice-captain Suresh Raina pulled out of IPL 2020, citing personal reasons. The 3-time champions will be without their vice-captain as they begin their bid for a 4th title in the upcoming edition.
Suresh Raina rubbished rumours of a rift in the camp and said he had to head back to India for personal reasons. Raina conceded that he was a bit concerned about the Covid-19 cases but did not rule out chances of a comeback.
CSK boss N Srinivasan, when asked about the possibility of Raina returning to the UAE, said he doesn’t interfere in team management.
“I have treated him like one (son). The reason for CSK’s success in IPL over the years is because of the fact that the franchise never poked its nose into cricketing matters. India Cements has been running cricket since ’60s. I will always remain like that,” N Srinivasan told the Press Trust of India.
“Look, please understand, that that’s not my domain (whether Raina will come back or not) at all. We own a team, we own the franchise but we do not own players. Team is ours but the players are not. I don’t own the players.”
CSK and MI were scheduled to meet in the opening match of the tournament before it was postponed from April-May due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.