KKR and RCB's captains gesture before the match on Monday. Twitter photo
A serious doubt about continuation of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cropped up on Monday when two Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) tested positive for Covid-19, resulting in the postponement of the KKR-Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) match here while similar news emerged from the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) camp and Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium.
A couple of CSK franchise members and three members of the ground staff at the Arun Jaitley Stadium have tested positive.
Delhi is scheduled to host successive matches on Tuesday (SunRisers Hyderabad-Mumbai Indians) and Wednesday (Rajasthan Royals-CSK), but these two matches -- and indeed the rest of the IPL -- are now in grave doubt of carrying on.
Delhi Capitals has also gone into isolation following two Covid-19 cases in the KKR camp.
“The team has been asked to stay in isolation in their hotel since they were the opponents of the KKR in their last match, played on April 29,” an official said.
DC also played a game on Sunday against Punjab Kings (PBKS) and that puts the Punjab franchise at risk as well.
However, PBKS have been indirectly in touch with the affected KKR as they played against Delhi on Sunday.
“We have had indirect contact. So, unless somebody from the Delhi Capitals tests positive, we won’t have to undergo isolation. However, it is not that we are moving around. We stayed inside our rooms the whole day on Monday because we had no practice,” said a Punjab team official.
It is unlikely that DC will practice on Tuesday. DC face KKR again in their next match on May 8. There is, however, still no confirmation on that count.
As of now three teams -- KKR, CSK, who also had a couple of positive cases, and DC -- are in isolation.
MI, who played CSK last on May 1, said they have been conducting vigorous testing from the start of the tournament. Members of the MI squad are being tested twice a day and are strictly following the protocols, so there are no worries as such, said a team official.
The league set up bio-secure bubbles around the eight teams before the tournament as a devastating wave of cases swept across India, which is also to host the T20 World Cup in October-November.
Incidentally, the 60-match IPL reached its halfway mark on Monday, with the 30th match scheduled, between KKR and RCB, being postponed.
Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed the positive results of KKR’s Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, it did not specify when and where the rescheduled KKR-RCB would be played.
Delhi and Ahmedabad, among the IPL venues, are in tight grip of the raging pandemic, with hundreds of people dying of the virus and thousands struggling in and outside hospitals for oxygen and medical aid. But the BCCI has so far insisted that the IPL would go on.
The KKR players, now in Delhi for their Tuesday’s match, were locked up in their rooms and didn’t go for practice on Monday, following the reports of positive tests from their camp. If their tests till Thursday (May 6) return negative results, they will be allowed to train on May 6 and 7. They will then be available for the May 8 match, provided that game takes place at all.
The BCCI said that the medical team is also “determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample that returned the positive test results”.
At the Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, everybody seemed on tenterhooks on Monday, the day the Delhi government sought Indian Army help to meet the Covid situation that is virtually got out of its hands.
“Three members of the groundstaff in Delhi have tested positive. Also a couple of members of CSK, which is to play its matches at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, are said to have tested positive,” a source said.
While there was official confirmation on KKR players testing positive and postponement of Monday night’s match, there was none on the Delhi cases.
The DDCA has witnessed a few cases in recent times. Two of its staff members died due to Covid recently. A couple of its officials/members have also been admitted to hospital undergoing treatment for Covid-19. “The situation is grave, no doubt,” said DDCA official.
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