The way things have been this year, it's nothing short of a miracle that sports events are even happening. So the fact that their preparations have completely changed doesn't come as a surprise.
And you'd want to believe when I say they have CHANGED.
Think of the Indian Premier League last year. Think of Wankhede or Chidambaram Stadium. The latter was filled with fans, for MS Dhoni's practice session.
This time around, none of that is happening obviously. In sharp contrast, the scenes look like this.
The tournament has been postponed to September 19 and shifted to UAE for safety reasons. And as the teams reach the host nation, here are some interesting pictures that will give you an idea about what IPL prep looks like this year.
Rajasthan Royals squad arrives.
After getting tested and declared COVID-19 negative.
Recently-retied Dhoni, who is thankfully still playing in the IPL, walking out of the airport wearing a mask.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore team all set for the take off.
With players taking absolutely no chance.
Team Kolkata Knight Riders arriving in UAE after taking complete precautions.
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Touchdown 📌 Abu Dhabi 🕌 🧴After a long day of travel, sanitising and maintaining strict protocols, our Indian Knights have safely checked in to their hotel rooms in the capital city of the UAE! #IPL2020, here we come! 💜 #KKR #KolkataKnightRiders #KorboLorboJeetbo #Cricket #IPL #AbuDhabi #Dream11IPL
In case you were wondering, yes, it is tough for cricketers to leave their houses after such a long stay at home.
Kings XI Punjab players in the bus with their masks on.
Meanwhile this is them in the plane, posing for the mandatory 'IPL-during-corona' photo.
'The new normal' featuring Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Delhi Capitals' R Ashwin getting some sound advice from his daughters.
IPL organisers have taken very strict measures in terms of safety.
All players chosen for the final squad have to test negative 2 times in a week, right before travelling to UAE. After which, they are tested again in the host country.
Post that, they are all placed under 7-day quarantine and have to test negative on the first, second and 6 day to be able to take part in the games.
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••• تستضيف دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة منافسات بطولة الدوري الهندي للكريكت(IPL )التي تعد من أقوى البطولات العالمية، وذلك خلال الفترة من 19 سبتمبر إلى 10 نوفمبر بمشاركة 8 أندية محترفة ستخوض مبارياتها في عدد من مدن الدولة، في حين ستقام مباراتي الإفتتاح ونهائي البطولة في دبي. وبدأ اليوم وصول الفرق المشاركة الذين يصل عدد أفرادهم إلى 680 شخصا بالإضافة إلى أفراد عائلاتهم حيث سيتواجدون في الدولة لمدة 90 يوما للتدريب والاستعداد وخوض مباريات البطولة. وكان فريق "كينج اكسي بانجاب" وفريق "راجستان رويال" الذي ترعاه طيران الإمارات، أول الواصلين عبر مطار دبي، فيما وصل فريق "كولكاتا نايت رايدرز" عبر مطار أبوظبي. وعبرت الفرق عن شكرها على حفاوة الاستقبال، كما عبرت عن سعادتها بالتواجد واللعب في ملاعب الدولة الرائعة. ••• The United Arab Emirates will host the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is one of the top international tournaments, from September 19 to November 10 with the participation of 8 franchise team that will play their matches in a number of cities in the country, while the opening and final matches of the tournament will be held in Dubai. The teams and officials, whose number reaches 680 people, in addition to their family members, will be in the country for 90 days to train, prepare and play matches. The Rajasthan Royals and King XI Punjab, sponsored by Emirates Airlines, are the first team to arrive for the tournament via Dubai airport, while the "Kolkata Knight Riders" team arrived via Abu Dhabi airport. The teams expressed their thanks for the warm welcome, and expressed their happiness to be in the UAE and play in the country's wonderful stadiums.. ••• #Dubai #DubaiSC #DXB #DSC #UAE #Dubai_Sports_Pulse #we_are_all_responsible #DubaiSportsCouncil #Sports #الجميع_مسؤول#MyDubai #دبي #دبي_نبض_الرياضة #مجلس_دبي_الرياضي #الإمارات #رياضة @dubaimediaoffice
Once that happens, all players step into the 'bio-security environment', which is where they stay for the entirety of the tournament.
It's basically a name given to a virtual 'environment' where no player can interact with anyone from the outside (except staff members etc). Keeping that in mind, many teams have prohibited family members to travel with the players.