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Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi:  The BCCI is bracing up for an IPL season like no other amid discussions on having mental health awareness helpline for players and support staff and with knowledge about the challenges of staying put in a bio-secure environment for weeks.

The helpline number, if introduced, will be a part of the board's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the lucrative tournament, which will be held in the UAE from September 19.

If the need arises, such dedicated helplines could help them deal with stress and anxiety better.

The BCCI is set to release a comprehensive SOP for all eight franchises after Sunday's Governing Council meeting where the final schedule will be passed.

A question that has been asked by a few franchises is regarding the pressure of staying away from families for a prolonged period, and the BCCI might address that in the meeting.

"The BCCI's SOP is likely to have full details of all the medical facilities which will be available for players and support staff. It is expected that there will be a helpline where players can call up in case they feel stress and anxiety. There will be expert help for one and all," a BCCI source, privy to the development, told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

One of the major issues will be how the BCCI deals with players' families accompanying them for the full period. The board, as well as franchises, are aware that loneliness could be a big factor, especially in a high-intensity tournament like the IPL.

"If BCCI has a helpline to deal with mental health, it could be a real welcome move and also step in the right direction which is also needed of the hour," a franchise official said.

It is learnt that the franchises can work around the SOP manual which the BCCI will handover to them.


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