WTC 2021: BCCI Bargaining With ECB For Soft Quarantine In England
The Indian men’s and women’s cricket teams will embark on their respective tours of England tentatively on the 2nd of June and it is learnt that the BCCI is now negotiating with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on a softer quarantine for their players in the country. The issue of a hard and soft quarantine had also taken center stage during India’s tour to Australia in 2020-21.
The BCCI is reported to have arranged charter flights for all the Indian players from three major Indian cities – Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi – to get them to Mumbai on the 19th of May, Wednesday for a hard two week quarantine. The players are expected to reach these three cities in their private vehicles. Players and support staff who live in Mumbai and around its suburbs and neighbouring areas have to only join the bubble a week later.
The Indian cricket board is still bargaining with the ECB on formalizing the terms and conditions of the quarantine in England. The men’s team starts off with the final of the World Test Championship in Southampton from the 18th of June while the women’s team plays their first match in Bristol – a one-off Test against hosts England.
The BCCI is negotiating for a soft quarantine for the players in England in which they are also allowed to train. They want to ensure a balance between a tough isolation and training.
“There may be a hard quarantine for a few days and then the players could be allowed to train. In Australia last November, the players were in hard quarantine for three days and then they were allowed to train. But the players could not move out of their hotel rooms after practice. Something similar is being mooted this time too,” stated a BCCI official.
The BCCI is ideally looking at 10 days of practice and training for both the men’s and women’s team in England.
There also happens to be the other pressing issue of the quarantine norms and regulations for the families travelling with the contingent.
The first hurdle for the board is to get all the players to Mumbai which includes players coming from smaller towns and cities. “The players who want to avail charter flights will have to reach their nearest airports by car. Players from small towns have requested the BCCI that they will be happy to travel to Mumbai in commercial flights if they are given business class tickets,” added the BCCI official.
All the players have to get negative RT-PCR results before they enter the bubble in Mumbai. The BCCI has made arrangements for the tests through a central agency. However, the players in small towns have been advised to undertake the tests themselves for which they will be compensated later.