At a time when India had the highest number of Covid-19 infection cases in the world every day, the Indian Premier League (IPL) was unfolding relentlessly in a bio-bubble. But that bubble was also shattered ahead of Game 30 of the T20 tournament on Monday when two players from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) tested positive, resulting in the KKR vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) game being postponed.
Hours later, two members of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and three ground staff at New Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium also tested positive, raising serious doubts about the tournament’s continuation.
Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed positive results from KKR players Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, it has not specified when or where the rescheduled KKR-RCB will be played.
Delhi and Ahmedabad, among IPL sites, are in the grip of the raging pandemic, with hundreds of people dying from the virus and thousands struggling in and outside hospitals for oxygen and medical help. But the BCCI has so far insisted that the IPL continue.
The KKR players, now in Delhi, were locked in their rooms and did not go to practice on Monday. If their tests until Thursday May 6 give negative results, they will be allowed to train on May 6 and 7. They will then be available for the May 8 game, provided that game takes place.
The BCCI said the medical team “was also determining close and occasional contact of the two positive cases in the 48 hours before the sample was taken that returned the positive test results.” “Three ground staff in Delhi have tested positive. In addition, some members of CSK, which is due to play its matches at Arun Jaitley stadium, have reportedly tested positive, ”said a source quoted.
Earlier Monday, the BCCI admitted that the KKR camp had reported positive tests. “Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier have tested positive in the third round of testing in the past four days. All the other members of the team have tested negative for Covid-19, ”he said. The two players isolated themselves from the rest of the team. The venue – the Narendra Modi Stadium – is expected to host two more group stage matches on Thursday and Saturday before hosting the playoffs and final from May 25-30 respectively.
“The medical team is in constant contact with the duo and monitors their state of health. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight riders have now moved on to a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them as soon as possible, ”BCCI said.
The latest developments are said to have sparked fear among players from overseas, especially Australians, with a few having halted their participation in the tournament. Ravichandran Ashwin of the Delhi Capitals, Adam Zampa of RCB, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye and Liam Livingstone of the Rajasthan Royals have already dropped out of the coveted league.
Additionally, it was learned that former Australian cricketer and commentator Michael Slater had left the IPL bubble but was unable to return home due to the country’s decision to ban all arrivals from India until ‘to May 15.
According to reports, Slater, who is stranded in the Maldives, has lambasted the Oz government. “If our government cared about the safety of Australians, it would allow us to return home. It’s a shame !! Blood on the MP of your hand. How dare you treat us like this.
I had government permission to work on the IPL, but now I have government negligence, ”Slater tweeted. Cricket Australia have said they have no plans to bring their players back from India anytime soon. “We’ve been in contact with the players there and they’re generally in a good mood,” said CA interim general manager Nick Hockley.