IPL 2020: Rajasthan Royals confident Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer will be fresh for UAE journey

Chief operating officer Jake Lush McCrum says England stars eager to play T20s after summer of Tests

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Rajasthan Royals are confident Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer will be fresh and ready for the start of the IPL season, despite the challenging summer they have faced in the UK.

The England duo will swap one bio-secure bubble for another when they travel to Dubai to meet up with the Royals next month.

Both are expected to feature in England's one-day international series against Australia, which concludes on Wednesday, September 16.

The IPL begins in the UAE three days later, with the final set to take place on November 8.

That will mean the players spending the best part of five months in sterile, bio-secure environments in order to play cricket, between England’s series against West Indies and Pakistan, plus the IPL.

The Royals’ chief operating officer, Jake Lush McCrum, is confident neither will be feeling fatigued by the time the IPL season gets under way, though.

“I honestly don’t think they will need reviving,” Lush McCrum said.

“If you look at Jofra, he has been rested [at stages] through the Test series.

"Jos is a batsman-keeper, so it is not as though he is going in day in, day out, although it is mentally tiring during those matches.

“I spoke to Jos [on Sunday], and he said: ‘I haven’t played T20 cricket for months – I am so excited'.

“He is going into the Australia series with ODIs and T20s, and I think he can’t wait for some white-ball cricket.

“He loves Test cricket and was so happy about the 150 he scored [against Pakistan in the third Test], but he can’t wait for white ball, and Jofra can’t wait to get out here either.”

The Royals have four England players in their squad for the 2020 season – Buttler, Archer, Tom Curran and Ben Stokes.

They also have two of the Australian limited-overs tour party – the franchise captain Steve Smith, and Andrew Tye.

Stokes’ availability is unclear at present. He flew to New Zealand earlier this month, after the first Test of England’s series against Pakistan, due to personal reasons.


Venues that will host IPL in UAE


It is possible the franchise could fly all of their players who will be in the UK to Dubai, where the team are based, on a charter flight together.

The bulk of the squad are already in Dubai, quarantining in their hotel rooms for period of six days, during which time they will undergo three Covid-19 tests.

The players arriving from the UK might be able to circumvent that process, and be available to play immediately.

“The BCCI have flexed their protocols since the initial ones,” McCrum said.

“If we get a charter, and if we land in a private area, and get them through following these SOPs, they won’t need to have six days’ quarantine here.

“That is obviously a huge benefit for us. Hopefully they will be able to play the first match then, which would be a huge benefit.”

While the Royals players are unable to leave their rooms, that does at least include access to their own private lawn areas.

Once quarantine is completed, the team will have its own wing of the hotel, as well as private usage of a pool, tennis courts and another lawn area.

“It has been a busy few months, but the positive is we have always been preparing for the IPL to happen this year,” McCrum said.

“We thought the BCCI would find a solution. They are generally pretty agile, and the main aim for us to be doing this all is to entertain the 800 million fans around the world.

“With regard to the last three weeks to a month, it has certainly ramped up.

“The two big priorities were getting the players and support staff across safely, and getting the right accommodation here.

“People may not think accommodation is the biggest deal, but when you are spending three months in a bubble somewhere, it is absolutely huge.

“Just for the six days, the value of the private lawn the players have has been so important.”