Kagiso Rabada and Ancrich Nortje are amongst the prominent South African cricketers who will miss the opening games of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL). Rabada and Nortje made up the Delhi side’s bowling outfit last year with 52 wickets between them in last year’s edition that saw Delhi make the finals against Mumbai.
There is a mandatory seven-day quarantine for cricketers coming to India for the tournament. Some cricketers such as Dedvutt Padikkal and Daniel Sams (both Bangalore) have also tested positive for COVID-19 and will spend time in isolation before joining their teams.
Similarly, Lungi Ngidi will miss Chennai’s first game against Delhi because of the seven-day quarantine. Before this, fast bowler Ngidi played for South Africa against Pakistan in the ODI series. Pakistan won the series 2-1 against South Africa.
Rabada, Nortje, and Ngidi are part of a group of players that played for South Africa against Pakistan in a three-match ODI series. Others include Mumbai wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and Rajasthan’s David Miller. The series ended on April 7, and the earliest an IPL-bound player is allowed to leave was after the second ODI game on April 4.
The franchises are working with the tournament’s governing body and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to allow the South Africans on one chartered flight instead of different commercial ones. According to the BCCI protocol, if players travel in bio-secure bubbles, they need not undergo the seven-day quarantine as stipulated earlier.
Teams moving between tournaments in a bio-secure bubble are safe to join their squads. This may allow them to resume competition earlier than expected. Given the key role some of these players play for their sides, it could make a difference during the business end of the tournament.
For Mumbai’s first game, Chris Lynn came in for de Kock. Bangalore won a last-ball thriller. Chennai lost their opening game to Delhi. With the addition of the South Africans to the IPL squads, expect some fireworks in the coming weeks of the 2021 IPL tournament.