Strict rules and protocols in place for COVID-less CPL season

CPL 2020 commences on August 18…

By Jemima Holmes

With the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 season being just a week away, the countdown to the ‘biggest party in sport’ has begun.

CPL Tournament Operations Director Michael Hall

The players who will be participating in this year’s tournament have just completed their first week of isolation. Accommodated at the Hilton Hotel in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the players may now have opportunity to interact with teammates.
However, the focus is now turned on the tournament itself and how best the organisers can keep players safe. Speaking with Caribbean media operatives on Tuesday morning, CPL Cricket Operations Director Michael Hall shared some new in regard to game rules that are being implemented this year. These rules will include the ICC’s concussion protocol, stoppage of play for dangerous conditions, and the obvious ‘no saliva’ rule in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.
“It’s the ICC concussion protocol, but we have instituted it this year in response to the incident with Andre Russell at Sabina Park last year. The second one is the stoppage of play for dangerous conditions, and here dangerous conditions refer to light,” Hall revealed.
“And we’re also instituting a system whereby the use of saliva, which is commonly practised in cricket, or has been, will result in penalty runs being assessed against the team when they come to bat.”
Another aspect of protocol that the CPL has closely considered is players’ interaction with outside persons, specifically workers and ground staff. As such, a venue mapping has been done in order to ensure that various groups of persons would not interact with another. For instance, local media and television broadcasters who have been in the same building in previous years are now being separated.
“We’ve coordinated with the folks at Queen’s Park Oval and also at Brian Lara, so that if there’s any local labour input required for the broadcast setup, that will take place before or after our crew leaves,” Hall noted.
Sharing that any vehicle transporting the cricketers and officials will be sanitised and that drivers will be dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE), Hall stated, “Those who are coming from the Hotel environment should enter the venue from a separate place. Those who work at the venue, who aren’t part of the hotel environment – of course we/re talking about the ground staff, etc – they are, in a separate area. The ground staff, in as far as its humanely possible, will be removed from the field of play after they’re done with the pre-game preparation.”
In the event of a player exiting the bio-secure environment, it is expected that, upon returning, they would have to undergo 7 days of isolation and return two negative COVID-19 tests, in order to rejoin their teammates.
However, Hall explained that the players’ reason for leaving, and whether or not they seek permission, would play a great role in deciding whether or not they are allowed to continue in the tournament.
“Everyone knows that those are the consequences for breaching the bio-secure environment without permission; and, quite frankly, if someone were to do that at the start of the tournament, it would render them, I guess, unavailable, with the tournament window being so short. But we’re certainly not expecting anyone to do so.
The Operations Director further stated that any departure would have to be approved by the Medical Advisory Committee, which comprises Chairman Dr Akshaya Mansingh, Dr Ober Gulston and Commander Dr Israel Dowlatt.
The Hero CPL 2020 will bowl off on Tuesday, August 18, with a doubleheader in which the Guyana Amazon Warriors will take on the Trinbago Knight Riders and the Barbados Tridents will tackle the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots. The final game of this tournament will be played on Thursday September 10.