While players can meet at the designated meeting spots like gym or interact with their team mates at the door of their rooms, they have been barred from entering each other's rooms for the entire period of the tournament.
Cricket players, who are otherwise used to complying with high-end security and privacy protocols, have a new maze of physical distancing protocols formulated for this year’s IPL season. In a webinar conducted by the IPL officials on Monday, players asked plethora of questions on varied topics ranging from their interaction with fellow team players, their conduct in the hotels where they are staying to some players even inquiring whether they would be able to give high fives and hugs to their teammates, according to an Indian Express report. Whether they would have to wear the bluetooth wristband all times throughout the day and if they could opt for saliva based Covid-19 tests over the nose swab RT-PCR tests were some of the other vital questions raised by the players.
Some protocols that have been formulated for the tournament are so stringent that players are finding it difficult to come to terms with them. Take for instance the protocol which bars players from visiting the rooms of their team mates or the one which makes wearing the bluetooth wristband mandatory all times during the day except when they are sleeping. While players can meet at the designated meeting spots like gym or interact with their team mates at the door of their rooms, they have been barred from entering each other’s rooms for the entire period of the tournament. Similarly, the bluetooth band has been devised to sound an alarm if any player crosses the 2 metre compulsory distance with other players. Permission to access the hotel lobby which was sought by many players was also turned down by the IPL officials.
Expressing dismay over the stringent protocols, Rajasthan Royals fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat told the Indian Express that the protocol which bars the players from visiting their teammates’ rooms would be the most difficult to comply with as players need someone to talk to when they happen to be away from their homes on long tournaments. This was the single most hard hitting protocol for most of the players present in the webinar that was chaired by BCCI’s interim chief executive officer Hemang Amin, Indian cricket team physio Nitin Patel and anti-doping manager Dr Abhijit Salvi.
The facilities for the use of players also vary from team to team. For instance, the management of Mumbai Indians took along a hair-stylist who would come to the rescue of the players throughout the tournament in the UAE while Rajasthan Royals pre-booked a separate beach in the city for exclusive access to its players. An amused player from one of the teams wondered if he would have to cut his own hair as his team was not posh enough to bring along a hair stylist like the Mumbai Indians.