With the Indian Premier League Governing Council (GC) slated to meet on Sunday, the strength of each IPL squad will be in the discussion as standard operating procedures (SOP) are formalized for this year’s tournament in the UAE.

An IPL franchise generally consists of a squad of 25-28 players. In addition to players and executives, there are at least 10-15 members on support staff. TOI understands that each IPL franchise will have to organize its own biological bubble upon arrival in the UAE approximately one month before the tournament. In that case, limiting the squad could be a containment bone.

The last time IPL was played in the United Arab Emirates in 2014, the teams led a trimmed squad. Generally, franchises highlight many players in the middle of the season if they are not close to the national team in-game XI.

TOI has learned that there have been suggestions that franchises could be asked to limit the number of players to 20. The idea is to keep the locker room as crowded as possible. However, franchises believe that there should be no compromise in the number of players. “Franchises would prefer to prune their non-playing staff If there are instructions on team strength. Some franchises will leave this decision to the coach and team management. Ideally, if there is a limit, then it should be in the entourage in their set, “a senior franchise official told TOI.

“There could be a limit to the number of people a franchise brought ashore on game days. Even some of the support staff might be asked to stay at the hotel,” I added.

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Net bowlers, practicing resources is a big challenge

The other point of conflict for franchises is the provision of adequate practice facilities. The availability of resources for practice sessions in this IPL will not be as easy as it was last time with such strict health protocols. “That is why franchises need more players. For almost two and a half months the teams will be in the UAE. Getting net players for so many teams will be difficult,” said the official.

The ICC Academy in Dubai has almost 40 pitches and two full terrains. Even the ground in Abu Dhabi has huge practice facilities. “There has to be a POE to hire bowlers and net resources, Franchises can hire the facilities, but they also need to have resources” added the official.

CSK plans to leave before others

Chennai Super Kings is working to land in Dubai on August 10 to practice for this season IPL. TOI also learned that the Knights of the Kolkata Knights are observing on August 19 and 20, while all other teams should leave before August 25. “CSK has been proactive. Be ready to leave on August 10. But the delay in the BCCI POE could delay that, “said a source.

BCCI is in talks with Emirates Airlines to coordinate with franchises since the Indian government has only allowed repatriation flights now. But some franchises are already looking to organize charter flights, “the source added.

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