Dubai: All 12 Indian and three foreign umpires, besides five Indian match referees, have tested negative ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) even as they complied with the strict quarantine protocol — during which they had limited options for watching Hindi movies in their hotel rooms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Their quarantine period is about to end on a positive note, and they are ready to officiate in the much-awaited 13th IPL starting on September 19.
Each official was tested on the first, third, and the fifth days of their six-day quarantine period, and they all have returned negative results, a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
This would come as a big relief for the BCCI, particularly after 13 members of the Chennai Super Kings tested positive recently after landing in the UAE, raising a scare.
The 20 match officials underwent the mandatory Covid-19 tests as per the requirements of the local governments of the three emirates — Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah — where 56 league matches will be played till November 3, besides the four play-off matches, including the final on November 10.
The match officials were earlier tested on landing at the Dubai airport, and then the three tests followed at their respective hotels.
One team of these officials is lodged in Abu Dhabi and the other in Dubai. The Abu Dhabi team will officiate in 20 league matches to be played at Shiekh Zayed Stadium while the other team is a larger one and these officials will officiate in 24 league games in Dubai and 12 in Sharjah.
According to sources, “since the Covid-19 protocols in Abu Dhabi are the strictest of the three emirates, a set of umpires and referees will be permanently based there. And because there are no travel restrictions between Dubai and Sharjah, the officials stationed in Dubai will do games at both places; it will be a mix-and-match policy.”
The 12 Indian umpires are: Anil Chaudhary, C. Shamshuddin, Virender Sharma, K.N. Ananthapadmanabhan, Nitin Menon, S. Ravi, Vineet Kulkarni, Yashwant Barde, Ulhas Gandhe, Anil Dandekar, K Srinivasan, and Pashchim Pathak.
The non-Indian umpires are Richard Illingworth of England, former Australian speedster Paul Reiffel, and Christopher Gaffaney of New Zealand.
And all five match referees are Indians: Javagal Srinath, Manu Nayar, V Narayan Kutty, Shakti Singh, and Prakash Bhatt.