Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are planning to fly out to the UAE by August last week for the upcoming season of IPL 2020 scheduled to get underway from September 19. All eight teams have started their preparations including asking their Indian players to assemble at designated hotel for quarantine and mandatory coronavirus tests.

The RCB squad, led by captain Virat Kohli, is expected to assemble together in a Bengaluru hotel for quarantine this week.

RCB chairman Sanjeev Churiwala told The Hindu that their flight schedules have been worked out to ensure players have enough time to practice for the gruelling season especially since a majority of them haven’t played competitive cricket for several months now due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“All the Indian players and support staff will first assemble in Bengaluru,” Churiwala was quoted as saying by the daily. “They will be quarantined in a hotel in Bengaluru for a few days before flying out to the UAE in the last week of August. The players are keen to start practising, so our flight schedule has been worked to ensure adequate time is available to conduct nets in UAE.”

According to several media reports last week, the Indian government has in principal given its approval to conduct the cash-rich tournament in the UAE, a formal letter is awaited.

“We are waiting for a formal letter from the government but I believe it will be a smooth process. Our team is eager to land up in the Middle East. Thanks to such a long break, no player is in form, technically. Players want to get cracking,” Churiwala told Deccan Herald.

As per the IPL SOP, the players will have to undergo at least five rounds of COVID-19 testing before entering the bio-secure bubble in the UAE. They will then have to enter a mandatory week-long quarantine period before being allowed to practice.

“All the players have been trained on the SOP, on the procedures to be followed in the bio-bubble. RCB will 100 per cent abide by the guidelines of the BCCI,” Churiwala said.