BCCI doing away with bubble life with domestic tournaments this month | Cricket News



No quarantine, only frequent RTPCR tests in U19 KOs and women’s T20s starting April 18
NEW DELHI: The rigours of staying in bio-bubbles may soon be a thing of the past in cricket. TOI has learned that the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has decided to carry out an experiment with two domestic tournaments this month. The U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy knockouts and the senior women’s T20 trophy are slated to start from April 18.
According to sources, the teams have been told that the players wouldn’t have to undergo mandatory quarantine upon reaching the host cities for the tournament. This will be the first instance in Indian cricket since the Covid-19 pandemic began that teams will be playing without staying in a bio-bubble. However, there will be frequent RTPCR tests to keep a check on an outbreak.
According to the itinerary shared by BCCI, teams can assemble at venues three days (April 15) before their matches and start practice the next day itself. This has come at a time when the pandemic has seemed to have relented and the daily cases have come down to the initial days of the pandemic in April 2020.
However, BCCI has encouraged Covid-appropriate behaviour and put the onus on the teams. Teams will be kept in a designated part of the hotel and players are not encouraged to mingle with people outside the tournament participants. The board has also restricted the numbers of venues as it still wants to cut down on travel which could increase the risk of players getting infected. With this, one may expect the teams to name 15 players plus the standbys instead of 18 players plus standbys.
“When the IPL schedule was drawn, the third wave was still on the wane. The board didn’t want to take any chances with a multi-city tournament. There’s a lot at stake. These two domestic tournaments could be a good reference to where we stand when it comes to dealing with the virus. One may expect that the three-team Women’s T20 Challenge during the IPL may also see the bubbles relaxing for the players,” a BCCI source told TOI.
TOI understands that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is also in favour of dropping strict bubbles and this could be up for discussion in the ICC board meetings this week. ICC CEO Geoff Allardice had told TOI in January: “At this stage, it’s difficult to get a standard protocol. It depends on the host countries and the governments. They have different definitions for close contacts. It’s taking a toll on players and officials. Over time it has relaxed with certain countries adopting living-with-the-virus in a pragmatic way.”

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